The Email Monster
What an excellent term 'Productivity Suck" is. It just sums up the sickness you feel at the thought of all that complexity that surrounds your email server. And let's not forget email is actually a relatively simple concept; it's all the demands and brouhaha the business aims at this poor little service that force IT departments to build a tangle of technology made of various point solutions that don't cooperate.
Dan Tyan over at Infoworld wrote a great piece; ITs Biggest Money Wasters. Tyan poses six significant drains on your IT budget. Number four on Tyan's list is the "Email Monster." He sums this up perfectly;
"You already knew email was a productivity suck, but it also sucks money out of your organization in terms of storage, maintenance, software licenses, server upkeep, and the constant battle against spam, malware, and data leaks. It's a problem that will only get worse."
The email monster, or in our case the 'Complexity Monster', is a creature (above left) that we recently took to Dev Connections in Las Vegas where a lucky few got the opportunity to slay the beast. But the analogy of an email or complexity monster is much more powerful, and slaying that monster is comparable to the task ahead of some CIOs and IT teams who are trying to get on top of their email management infrastructure.
Looking into the eye of your monster might be a scary prospect, but there are ways around the impending doom. As everyone knows all Dragons & Monsters have a blind spot of some sort, and finding a way to exploit that in your Monster will be key.
More on the Blind Spot
I'm beginning to stretch the analogy a bit far here I know, but the idea of a blind spot is about getting to the soft underbelly of that Monster and finding a way to slay it once and for all. For example your blind spot might be compliance based, you might need to archive email but you know your storage is already creaking; simply adding more disk to the mail server isn't going to solve the problem. So as a way of exploiting that problem (blind spot), make this a business issue; take the problem to the business, explain the risk of not retaining email correctly in light of your compliance requirement. Then importantly suggest a solution that encompasses everything that's wrong with your email management infrastructure. Poking at one small part of the Monster with a pointy stick merely annoys it and endangers your own health.
In Tyan's article, Gary Bahadur of KRAA Security suggests that sub 1000 user companies can gain efficiencies by outsourcing their email to the Cloud. This blog has long extolled the virtues of the Cloud and email management but I think the key point is; in order to slay your Monster you're going to need a weapon that won't give up on you or break halfway through the process - you essentially need a weapon that slays this thing once and for all. I think the Cloud is going to be the only sensible weapon to choose. Everything else is simply a pointy stick.
I would love to hear your heroic stories of Monster slaying... email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll publish the best on this blog.