Email compliance

According to a news release on, Union Square Software has launched a Seven Step Guide to email compliance for the construction industry. With email now, it says, “the de facto standard for communication within the construction supply chain”, management and retention of contractually important email is becoming a crucial IT issue.

Union Square argues, with some justification (I have discussed this in the past too – see here for example), that standard business tools such as Microsoft Outlook do not always serve the best interests of a project-oriented industry (indeed director Will Yandell insists: “Outlook provides possibly the worst place to store contacts and emails”), and poses enormous challenges for IT departments to manage back-ups and ensure no emails are lost.

The Seven Steps:

  1. Don’t make end-users responsible for filing/archiving emails. Take the responsibility out of their hands and automate the entire process.
  2. Make a decision to store EVERYTHING that is received and sent by anyone in the organisation. That way you can be sure nothing is lost.
  3. Don’t use your email system as the filing/storage repository for emails. Email systems were not … designed to be filing systems though more often than not that is what they have become….
  4. Use a SQL database to store the emails in their native format. They are designed to deal with millions of records and scale successfully…. Using a database can significantly improve the speed of searching and can also make integration with other [IT]….”
  5. Make sure that once archived the emails cannot be tampered with. It will be important later to show that the email has been stored in its original form and not tampered with.
  6. The system should make it easy for end users to find emails at a later date. … Full text searching should allow emails to be searched for any content and attachments filed with them.
  7. The system should facilitate the easier sharing of knowledge and can be seen as part of a wider knowledge management strategy. This may have particular value within an activity such as a project where there will definitely be some operational advantages in allowing the entire team to see certain emails.

Tags: AEC UK Union Square intranet email Seven Steps

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  1. […] course, this AEC email challenge is nothing new – indeed, I returned to the topic only last month – but the firm’s dismissal of project extranets concerned me. While I cannot be sure […]

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