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November 29, 2005
Necessity Is The Mother

If you've spent any length of time supporting users, you know that there is no end to the imaginative workarounds they can come up with when a system goes down and they have work that still needs to happen. Yes, necessity is the mother of invention, or some other kind of mother, but when it comes to e-mail workarounds, the inventiveness of users can cause problems.

And it's hard to quibble with their intent. Businesses can no longer build slack into their schedules as a just-in-case measure when making deals. Communications technology has made immediacy the norm, so when a critical conduit is temporarily unavailable, the show still must go on, no excuses.

In our most recent poll we asked you what your users resort to when their corporate e-mail is down. As we anticipated, a majority (51 percent) of you said they just go out on the Web and use their personal e-mail accounts. Not a pretty picture if you're monitoring e-mail for compliance and security purposes.

Another 11 percent of you said they resort to the enterprise instant messaging system, a more manageable choice and its good to know that you're managing IM. But eight percent of you said that your users go out on commercial IM networks in a pinch, and that's not a good place for sensitive corporate information to go.

I guess old reliable, the fax machine, is just that, old. Only five percent of you said your users turn the fax when the e-mail network is down.

And that leaves 24 percent of you that chose our catchall, other choice, which we called Smoke Signals. That could include a number for options, including just picking up the phone and talking to someone. But if documents need to be exchanged for review, that rules out a voice call.

What's become clear is that many of you don't have policies for how the work goes on when the e-mail is down. And in the this age of compliance, legal discovery and corporate governance, it's time to institute those policies and perhaps make a strong case for enterprise IM.

Posted by Mitch Irsfeld at 03:01 PM | Permalink

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