Kartic's Musings on Corporate Information and Knowledge Management

October 18, 2007

Email management in SharePoint – Storing emails in a document library

Filed under: 1 — kartickapur @ 12:04 am

We have been looking at two options to store emails in a document library. Issues like transferring the mail from outlook to SharePoint library and tagging have been considered and discussed below:

Options

Send

Receive

Upside

Downside

Workspace

Cc/Bcc

Fwd

Easy to implement; SharePoint document management features

Manual process for tagging

3rd Party product which uses a WSS Workspace

Drag and Drop/Cc/Bcc

Drag and Drop/Fwd

Ease of tagging or filing

Cost per user– US$125 + $15 (support) or $30 (premium support).

Group discounts are available

Option Details:

   Workspace

A new workplace can be created with document libraries to hold emails.

Mail transfer

  • The email address for the new mailbox should be added to Cc or Bcc of the sent email which needs to be filed.
  • Any important email received from the client can be forwarded to the new mailbox.

Tagging

One of the three options can be considered for tagging:

  • Metadata can be maintained in one SharePoint library replacing the folder structure. The concern is that the tagging will be a manual process.
  • Folder structure can be maintained in SharePoint library. It is to be confirmed whether mail can directly be sent to the respective folder.
  • A document library maintained for each category. Mails can be directed easily to the right library (litigation, general etc.).

Concerns

  • How to avoid duplications of mail?
  • Where to archive the old emails?

Other considerations

  • Speed of deployment: 1 week
  • Data Security: SharePoint library configured to accept mail from fixed email addresses to avoid spam; SharePoint groups to restrict access
  • Disaster Recovery: SharePoint back and restore
  • Total cost of ownership:

 3rd Party product which uses a WSS Workspace

A new workplace can be created with document library to hold emails. 3rd party product example Colligo contributor can be used to transfer mails.

http://www.colligo.com/products/sharepoint/outlook_add-in.asp

Mail transfer

  • Drag and drop the emails and/or attachments to the SharePoint library directly through the outlook interface or by using a desktop application provided.
  • A desktop interface can be used (Provided by the third party) To transfer mails and tag metadata.
  • The email address for the new mailbox should be added to Cc or Bcc of the sent email which needs to be filed.
  • An important email received from the client can be forwarded to the new mailbox.

Tagging

  • Metadata and content type can be selected directly from the outlook interface.

Concerns

  • Cost involved.
  • How to avoid duplications of mail?
  • Where to archive the old emails?

Other considerations

  • Speed of deployment: 1 week
  • Data Security: SharePoint library configured to accept mail from fixed email addresses to avoid spam; SharePoint groups to restrict access
  • Disaster Recovery: SharePoint back and restore
  • Total cost of ownership: One time license fee;
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9 Comments »

  1. Hi we are currently looking at a similar project to this one. we looked at the option of populating email via fwd/cc etc. the drawback there was having multiple projects having multiple subfolders and it was too difficult to use. deciding a naming convention and then to get the users to have this would have been a nightmare.
    As for the drag and drop options – I thought that having the full office suite in 2007 (which we do not have) would sort this problem out?

    We are testing this with months – we currently have Public folders and are storing email on a file server.

    regards,

    Sean

    Comment by Sean Casey — February 20, 2008 @ 9:54 am

  2. Hi Sean,

    There are a few options out there to try. we downloaded a product from scinaptic called OnePlaceMail which seems to be working really well for us. it also allows us to capture additional library info when uploading… the send to, cc subject and everying is automatically captured. They were offering the full software for download on their web site.

    There are also other options like Colligo which seems quite good also but maybe doing things you don’t need. worth having a look at though.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve — June 25, 2008 @ 7:58 pm

  3. Hi
    I don’t know if you have found a solution for managing emails in SharePoint yet, but check out our product called Email-Manager.
    It automatically catches the emails from the exchange server and put’s them into SharePoint if there is a match on a know contact (master contact db could be SharePoint list, CRM or other system).
    Our ready made web part enables you to se the emails related to accounts, contacts or any other entity type like project – This really means you can make sure you have all customer related emails accesible via SharePoint (emails are stored in a MS SQL db)
    The kicker to this is that we even give you the source code for the web part, so you can fiddle with it your self.
    Check out how easy it is to integrate into SharePoint in this recorded demo: http:/emmdownload.com/sharepoint.

    More information is available at http://www.email-manager.com

    Kind regards
    Kenneth Thorkelin
    Globl Channel Manager

    Comment by Kenneth Thorkelin — September 9, 2008 @ 6:48 pm

  4. Hi

    Thanks for this article.

    You made a comment:

    “It is to be confirmed whether mail can directly be sent to the respective folder. ”

    Do you know if this is possible?

    Cheers

    Rob

    Comment by Rob Cameron — November 8, 2008 @ 7:46 pm

  5. I have, by changing jobs, to adapt from 20 years of using Domino to using Sharepoint. I run into the same problem: A project workspace should contain EVERYTHING connected to that project and I just need an easy way to direct incoming mails to the correct project sites. At present the project sites sends notificatons to the involved persons, as they work apart geographically. This was built-in in Lotus 10+ years ago, and I really can’t see why that should be so difficult in the MS world. Anhybody knows a how-to, about that?

    I also want to be able to se what the individual consultants are involved in to judge workload and ressources available, which consultants have tasks in what project sites. Sorry Sharepint falls flat on its face here again, that has been a standard function in Notes since time immortal. How do I do that in sharepoint?

    Comment by Mads Skjern — October 29, 2009 @ 9:54 am

  6. If your purpose to save and share emails, using list serve the purpoase better

    Unlike document library, there is one to one relation between list item and email. The attachments from one email are saved as attachments of one list item too.

    We are using http://anurasoftware.com email tracking list solution to track email related to same issue in list.

    Comment by James Lee — February 2, 2011 @ 12:40 am

  7. Some possible pitfalls to consider:
    1. There’s no way to make the email land in anything except the main document library, hopelessly junking it up.
    2. If the email has some illegal characters in the subject, then when it lands in the proposal workspace, the subject becomes the file name….and (curiously) the illegals seem to get automatically stripped out (which I guess is good) except I notice that if one of those illegals is a plus sign, it does NOT get stripped out. I haven’t the time to test all combinations, but this is truly bizarre behavior.
    3. The resulting email may NOT be able to be opened & read from within the sharepoint workspace, producing a bogus error that ‘a sharepoint compatible application can’t be found’
    4. If I edit out the illegals by changing the email filename using Edit File Properties, it still may or may not render it openable/readable. And, length of the Subject line of the email also can disable it from being readable if path length is exceeded.
    5. Same goes for attachments….illegals in the names of the attachments, as well as length of names of attachments, can cause problems.

    Comment by BobW — April 1, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  8. We are using http://anurasoftware.com/default.aspx#EmailEnabledDocLib to submit files to SharePoint. The good thing of this solution is that it creates document set automatically for each email received and the email content is saved with the document set.

    Comment by Jasonzh2008 — May 24, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

  9. Anura Software Email Enabled Document Library for MS Office SharePoint 2010 uses the new Document Set content type of SharePoint 2010 to keep track of incoming emails and email attachments in document library.

    Out-of-the-box SharePoint 2010 can keep track of emails in folders organized by email subjects or email senders. However since folder is not a reusable content type, it misses many advanced features available in Document Set such as adding custom columns, using shared columns, triggering workflows …

    Anura Software Email Enabled Document Library creates a new Document Set for each incoming email. Email metadata and content are saved as column data of the document set. Email attachments are saved as files within the document set. User can even embed extra metadata inside the email body to enter the data automatically into SharePoint.

    Anura Software Email Enabled Document Library can also track emails more accurately than the out-of-the-box functionalities by matching the incoming email by ID or email subject. When file with same name received, there is option to save the file with a unique name or overwrite the existing file. When existing file is overwritten, the older version of the file can still be retrieved by looking up the version history.

    Comment by James2012 — May 29, 2011 @ 6:26 am


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