I've spent a lot of time performing mail migrations for companies that either had very little IT focus, or no fulltime staff to handle common issues. As a result, policies governing email use and best-processes were never instituted. The end-users in these environments are non-technical and tend to resist change.
I definitely understand the mechanics of changing/moving/upgrading mail platforms. In most cases, I assist firms in moving from Linux-based POP3 or IMAP to Microsoft Exchange. This type of move exposes a multitude of user bad habits.
My concern isn't entirely about the disk space involved in the email hoarding issues I've encountered in the past; there's always one in every company. It's about the issues and abuses that I commonly see once I'm working with a particular firm.
During the last migration, I saw:
CC:themselves on every email (presumably as a way to keep track of message threads?).
300 Megabyte messages in the Sent Items folder?!?
People who send Outlook read receipts on every outgoing message.
Users who maintain subfolders for every contact that they correspond with. Sometimes manually. Sometimes with very broken client-side rules.
Over-organization of subfolders. (some folders with only one message in them).
Subfolders under the Inbox (I'm not sure if this is a bad practice, but it feels wrong).
Gratuitous use of Priority Flags. Everything is High Importance!!
4+ years of email in the Sent Items folder.
25,000 or more items in the Inbox (with a large percentage of them unread).
15,000 or greater messages in the Deleted Items folder.
A user with 24,000 items in their Drafts folder! (the result of a misapplied client-side rule).
Auto-archives growing out of control.
How does this happen?
- Is it that email is relatively new, and users aren't educated on how to utilize it well?
- Is it a UI problem where the Deleted Items folder is simply a one-key filing system?
- Are administrators not doing their part to gently help correct actions?
- If the users have problems with basic email, how do I tackle the challenge of teaching them about out-of-office replies and how to work the group calendar (gulp)?
My question is whether there's a standard set of guidelines on how to manage one's email? (even a pamphlet?)
The user education issues tend to slow down these deployments because I'm altering the workflow that people have arrived upon through a variety of means. And when this affects people at all levels/roles of an organization, it seems like there's no standard in place.