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Practical guide The proper use of email in the company Support
Disclaimer The sole purpose of this document is to raise awareness of the proper management of emails. MEDEF declines all responsibility with regard to the use of the solutions recommended by this guide. This guide can in no way replace the sound advice of technical or legal specialists in the security of information systems. Summary
Preface 6 Introduction 8 Use of email in business 9 The 12 points to remember for the proper use of email email 11 Part 1 Good use of email 12 File 1: Rules of good practice for email in order to increase productivity 12 Good use of email: writing, wording , answer…
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A few rules for better managing your emails and being more efficient Communicate relevantly and use the most appropriate means of communication in relation to the context 12 Control and format the emails sent to facilitate their use 15 Use the rules productivity for the processing and organization of emails 18 Optimizing the organization and follow-up of meetings from the calendar 19 Promoting the use of collaborative spaces 19 Sheet 2:
The limits of using e- email, for the benefit of other communication and collaboration tools 20 Limits of email in collaborative work 20 The role of email in business applications 25 Unified messaging 25 Instant messaging 28 Sheet 3: Mobile uses 29 Mobile uses , by logging on via a computer outside the company or via a telephone allowing them to retrieve their emails. Email and Nomadism. Use email anywhere. Introduction 29 Solutions for email on the move: can email be used anywhere? 29 Email and nomadism in practice: how to choose a solution according to your needs 30 Preface
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Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
4 E conomic , F inanci al A ffairs , R esearch and N ew Te chnologies D ir ec ti ons File 4: Legal aspects related to the use of email 33 Legal value – signature – storage and use What is the legal value of emails? 33 The electronic signature of emails 34 The archiving of emails 35 The control of the use of emails 35 What legal notices must include an email? 36 Legal aspects of emailing 37 Part 2 Good use of email for business performance 38 Sheet 5: The value of email as a marketing tool 38 Introduction 38 How to use the email in marketing and sales? 39 Building up your database well 40 Writing and sending emails well 42 Testing and learning 44 Sheet 6: Email and archiving 45 Archiving, beyond storage and backup 45 Dematerialized correspondence and memory company 46 Need to rely on an archiving policy 47 Email archiving solutions 48
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Part 3 Technical fundamentals 5 Part 3 Technical fundamentals 5 50 Introduction 50 SPAM 51 PHISHING 52 HOAX, or malicious content 53 VIRUSES conveyed by malicious attachments 54 The concept of BOTNET and remote control of machines 55 Sheet 8: The use of e- secure mail: encryption, signature 56 About the electronic signature 56 Signature and encryption of an email 56 Examples of applications for a signed email 58 Sheet 9: The necessary architectures, as well as the possible choices 60 The 5 technical components of email 60 Hosted or external messaging 62 The role of the directory 63 Expectations vis-à-vis the IT department 64 The email market 65 Sheet 10: Smileys:- ) 66 What is a smiley 66 How to make a smiley ? 66 Some examples of basic smileys 66 Glossary and useful sites 67 Acknowledgments 69 Preface Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
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Its objective is to provide an overview of all subjects related to the use of email and key points corresponding to each of the levels involved (managers, employees and the IT department managing the email tool, service providers), while allowing a dialogue between these various populations around this subject. In addition to this introduction which presents what email is, the key points for proper use, and a glossary of the main terms of
the guide is organized into sheets, which can be accessed separately as needed. The sheets are organized as follows: 1. Good use of email – Sheet 1: The rules of good practice for email in order to increase its productivity – Sheet 2: The limits of the use of email email, for the benefit of other communication and collaboration tools – Sheet 3: Mobile uses, by connecting via a computer outside the company or via a telephone allowing you to retrieve your email emails – Sheet 4: the legal aspects linked to the use of email 2. Good use of email for the performance of the company – Sheet 5: the interest of email as marketing tool – Sheet 6: email and archiving:
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dematerialized correspondence and corporate memory 3. Technical fundamentals – Sheet 7: what to do about misappropriation of proper use: SPAM, PHISHING, malicious content, attachments malware, BOTNETs – Sheet 8: the use of secure email: encryption, signature – Sheet 9: the necessary architectures , as well as the possible choices. – Worksheet 10: Smileys!! A glossary presents the most commonly used terms in the guide. You will also find the list of contributors to its writing. The most commonly used term of email will be privileged in this guide for the purpose of homogeneity of reading but other terms exist to designate it: electronic messaging, electronic mail, email, email, mail, mel… This guide does not replace the advice of specialists: do not hesitate to see your IT manager and/or a specialized lawyer. This guide is intended for company directors Preface Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
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D ir ec ti ons E conomic , F inanci al A ffairs , R esearch and N ew Te chnologies 9 Email is a messaging tool, electronic communication in writing, of an asynchronous nature as is the letter sent by post. It has established itself as the tool most used in companies because it allows you to: ■ multiply communications regardless of the number of correspondents and their immediate availability, ■ ensure the traceability and monitoring of exchanges, ■ manage the distribution information, personal or within a group, direct or indirect (recipient in copy), ■ classify, archive and search for communications made. Its growth in volume is constant from year to year, in particular to the detriment of paper mail, fax and also telephone. A 2005 IDC study shows a doubling of the volume of emails between 2002 and 2005. This trend continues, without slowing down, both in number of email boxes and in volume as illustrated by the projections of the studies of the Radicati Group 2006 (growth of 20% per year on average and doubling between 2005 and 2009).
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The ease of use, the universal nature and the benefits of email largely explain this massive adoption. Messaging is also often linked to complementary uses concerning calendar and contact management. In addition, the organization and follow-up of meetings often involve the exchange of messages and attachments. Its development accompanies and supports managerial changes in companies (organizations mixing hierarchy and functional attachment, organization by project, multinational organization, emphasis on collaboration, cross-functional processes, cross-functional communities, customer relations, etc.).
It is also a key support for relations with its suppliers and customers and a marketing tool. This predominance of email in the activity of the company leads, more and more, to make it play a central role and to consider it as a critical application. Gartner estimates that 50% to 75% of useful information is exchanged person to person (as opposed to business applications and corporate document repositories). This situation thus highlights the issue of the legal value of email. The constant growth in the volume of emails is also logically accompanied by an increase in the time devoted to processing them. This activity takes up significant proportions of total working time. American employees receive an average of 44 emails per day, send 17 and spend 1.5 hours per day processing their emails (Work Productivity Council, 2003).
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A study carried out in France showed similar figures (Microsoft, 2006). It also highlights the existence in significant proportions of populations with a high intensity of use of email (more than 100 emails received per day and more than 2 hours spent per day processing their emails). mails). Receiving 100 emails a day is no longer an exceptional situation today in large and international companies. Extreme situations can even be observed: Marissa Mayer, vice-president of Google confided in an interview “How I work” (Fortune, 2006) that she received 700 to 800 emails per day!! (She adds that she can spend 10-14 hours a day dealing with her emails!!). The popularity of email and its constant development are also leading to the extension of its uses, beyond its primary functions, with email becoming the “Swiss army knife” of intellectual work: sequence of back and forth emails, ■ taking notes and memos in the body of an email, ■ storage space for reference files as attachments to emails, ■ … Using the email in business Preface Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
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On the other hand, email often tends to be used instead of other communication tools that are more relevant for certain uses, but these are still too little known in the company. Indeed, email is not the best tool for all contexts. Thus, collaborative work on documents falls under collaborative or content management tools. Similarly, the follow-up of requests, works or contracts is carried out much more efficiently by so-called “workflow” tools (process of processing tasks).
Beyond these communication tools, email or instant messaging, telephone and collaborative site, there are enriched communication tools: ■ sites for sharing documents or applications, ■ sites for publishing content on the intranet and workflow, ■ instant messaging, ■ web conferencing: conference using the Internet and integrating voice, image and data flow, ■ video conferencing, ■ collaboration integrated into business applications. Instant messaging is currently underdeveloped in business, but is introduced there in particular by generations of young employees who import the use they make of consumer instant messaging, as well as via new uses of business communication based on the notion of availability (“presence management” according to the Anglo-Saxon expression).
The importance taken by email in the life of the company is such that it requires to be able to access it anywhere and anytime. This leads to the development of remote consultation solutions. This also raises the question of the rules of use between the professional sphere and the private sphere (remote access to email also taking place at home). Email is therefore an issue at different levels: ■ The business manager must define the usage policy and the investments necessary to derive the optimum benefits from it. ■ Users must implement the most suitable uses to guarantee their personal productivity. ■ IT teams must define and operate the corresponding solutions. It is therefore, because of its preeminence in communication, information sharing and teamwork, a subject in its own right in the management and productivity of the company which demands the attention of the company manager. . It is therefore in the company manager’s interest to define a policy for the proper use of email: ■ rules of proper use, ■ legal issues, ■ archiving, ■ security, etc. He will make sure to raise awareness and regularly train his collaborators on these topics. Beyond this stage, depending on the practices in his company, he can explore two avenues: ■ Implementation of other tools complementary to email (instant messaging integrating document sharing and web document sharing, workflow, etc.). ■ Integration of all means of communication (telephone, messaging, instant messaging) in a single digital tool (unified messaging).
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Make it easier for recipients to use emails Make it easier for recipients to process emails: Recipient = for action, Copy = for information, Reply to all: not systematic! Promote the reading of emails: explicit title, short and clear message, summary of long emails retransmitted. [B] Be productive in processing incoming emails Perform an action for each email viewed: process, delete, flag (for follow-up or further processing), delegate. Organize time slots in your calendar to check your emails. Know how to quickly find an eand international companies.
Extreme situations can even be observed: Marissa Mayer, vice-president of Google confided in an interview “How I work” (Fortune, 2006) that she received 700 to 800 emails per day!! (She adds that she can spend 10-14 hours a day dealing with her emails!!). The popularity of email and its constant development are also leading to the extension of its uses, beyond its primary functions, with email becoming the “Swiss army knife” of intellectual work: sequence of back and forth emails, ■ taking notes and memos in the body of an email, ■ storage space for reference files as attachments to emails, ■ … Using the email in business Preface Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
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On the other hand, email often tends to be used instead of other communication tools that are more relevant for certain uses, but these are still too little known in the company. Indeed, email is not the best tool for all contexts. Thus, collaborative work on documents falls under collaborative or content management tools. Similarly, the follow-up of requests, works or contracts is carried out much more efficiently by so-called “workflow” tools (process of processing tasks). Beyond these communication tools, email or instant messaging, telephone and collaborative site, there are enriched communication tools: ■ sites for sharing documents or applications, ■ sites for publishing content on the intranet and workflow, ■ instant messaging, ■ web conferencing: conference using the Internet and integrating voice, image and data flow, ■ video conferencing, ■ collaboration integrated into business applications.
Instant messaging is currently underdeveloped in business, but is introduced there in particular by generations of young employees who import the use they make of consumer instant messaging, as well as via new uses of business communication based on the notion of availability (“presence management” according to the Anglo-Saxon expression). The importance taken by email in the life of the company is such that it requires to be able to access it anywhere and anytime. This leads to the development of remote consultation solutions. This also raises the question of the rules of use between the professional sphere and the private sphere (remote access to email also taking place at home).
European Market Email Database
Email is therefore an issue at different levels: ■ The business manager must define the usage policy and the investments necessary to derive the optimum benefits from it. ■ Users must implement the most suitable uses to guarantee their personal productivity. ■ IT teams must define and operate the corresponding solutions. It is therefore, because of its preeminence in communication, information sharing and teamwork, a subject in its own right in the management and productivity of the company which demands the attention of the company manager. .
It is therefore in the company manager’s interest to define a policy for the proper use of email: ■ rules of proper use, ■ legal issues, ■ archiving, ■ security, etc. He will make sure to raise awareness and regularly train his collaborators on these topics. Beyond this stage, depending on the practices in his company, he can explore two avenues: ■ Implementation of other tools complementary to email (instant messaging integrating document sharing and web document sharing, workflow, etc.). ■ Integration of all means of communication (telephone, messaging, instant messaging) in a single digital tool (unified messaging).
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Make it easier for recipients to use emails Make it easier for recipients to process emails: Recipient = for action, Copy = for information, Reply to all: not systematic! Promote the reading of emails: explicit title, short and clear message, summary of long emails retransmitted. [B] Be productive in processing incoming emails Perform an action for each email viewed: process, delete, flag (for follow-up or further processing), delegate. Organize time slots in your calendar to check your emails. Know how to quickly find an e , F inancial , R esearchand N ew Te chnologies As an example, here are four cases of suboptimal use of email in “conversational” contexts (which does not mean that email must be systematically prohibited in these contexts):
■ “Ping-pong” email (see below): Multiple back-and-forth email exchanges aggravated by the multiplication of correspondents and multiple reminders on secondary topics. The use of email leads to difficulties in converging and risks of not concluding compared to a real conversation characterized by a beginning and an end, a common thread and a rich interactivity allowing to better focus the exchange. ■ “Flame” email (see below): Use of email to express a strong “hot” reaction (colloquial language, use of capital letters, uncontrolled content). As much as a lively reaction can be understandable when it remains informal and linked to a context shared by all the interlocutors present, it risks being misunderstood when it is carried out on a permanent medium over time and susceptible to diffusion outside the initial context.
■ “Avoidance” email: Sending an email to avoid discussing an issue or to transfer responsibility to another person. This type of communication requires “rich” interactions that are incompatible with the “impersonal” nature of email, particularly with regard to conflict resolution. ■ “Repeated exchanges of versions of a document” email: The exchange and convergence on a document are carried out much more quickly through a simultaneous and interactive exchange on a shared document (via message). instant management, web-conference or meeting for example) rather than by repeated and successive exchanges of multiple versions of a document for each individual modification. Optimizing the use of email therefore consists first of all in:
■ Communicating in a relevant way by ensuring that the content of your communication is appropriate for the interlocutors who will receive it. ■ Limit the use of email when other means of communication are more suitable. In a “dissemination” context, it is preferable to make company reference information available (company message, memorandum, etc.) on intranet sites that are widely and easily accessible and can be consulted over time, even if it means then warning a limited population by providing the pointer to the information. The choice of the best means of communication may also depend on the availability status or the preferred means of contact displayed by the correspondent (this generally involves the use of instant messaging coupled with the calendar).
For example, for a person displaying an “available” status, the best means of communication is instant messaging or the telephone while a person displaying an “unavailable” or “in meeting” status will be by email. . Remember that the benefit of rapid and universal communication attributed to messaging can only be achieved if all members of the company have messaging. Otherwise, the distribution of memos, company messages, or even the dematerialization and circulation of forms (HR requests, etc.) require costly additional circuits (service meeting, paper distribution, etc.) for people not equipped. Good use of email
E conomic , F inanci al A ffairs , R esearch and N ew Te chnologies D ir ec ti ons 1 5 Mastering and formatting emails sent to facilitate their use This paragraph, deliberately practical, is intended to be read in front of your computer. Proper use of email applies to the following points: ■ Addressing ■ Forwarding and replying ■ Title and “descriptors” ■ Editing ■ Salutation and signature ■ Attachments ■ Checking before sending Addressing “To:” (“ To”): For the attention of ■ This is where you indicate the email address of your correspondent.
This is usually the “for action” recipient. As a general rule, put ONLY ONE correspondent. “Cc:” In copy ■ This is where you indicate the email address of the people you put in copy, that is to say that you want to inform of your email without for all that these people do not necessarily act. ■ In English “Cc” which means “carbon copy”, and is a legacy of the paper world when you asked your secretary to type a letter in 3 copies, this one inserted a carbon paper between the sheets of paper from his typewriter to create the required copies. ■ Each person copied must be copied for a specific reason. In general, in a context of low volume of communication and strong hierarchical coordination, systematic copying is bearable.
It becomes much less so in a context of excessive volume of emails and multiple coordination (hierarchical, functional, matrix, by project, transverse). “Bcc” (“Bcc”): “Invisible carbon copy or hidden copy ■ In English “Bcc” “blind carbon copy” or hidden copy, is a facility to be used with care; it allows you to copy someone WITHOUT the correspondents or the people in official copy being informed. ■ Note that 2 people put in “Bcc” will not know reciprocally that they are put in copy. You can also “Bcc” yourself to check that your mail is actually delivered and in what form it is received. ■ Use “hidden copies” with caution.
Don’t forget that the recipient can forward them or “reply all”. Mailing lists: [contact list. for example, list of members of a working group, of a project, etc.] ■ They can be useful but they constitute a potential source of inadequate addressing and should therefore only be used with caution in a context of overload the volume of emails. The use of subscription-based mailing lists makes it possible to manage exchanges centered on dedicated communities. Address book ■ Use an electronic address book to keep all the addresses of your correspondents. This saves considerable time. You can also create “nicknames” from the initials of the correspondent, for example: Jean Dupond has an email address [email protected] and can be associated with a nickname “jd”. Forward and reply “Forward” ■ Specify whether this is a forward for information (FYI: “For Your Information”) or for action, if possible in the title of the email. ■ Summarize a forwarded email exchange if it is very long to avoid reading 12 pages. Otherwise, the transfer is akin to offloading (it’s up to you!) ■ Pay attention to the confidentiality of the information in an exchange of transferred emails. The rules of good practice for email in order to increase its productivity Preface Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
■ Take into account the response time (avoid the urgent email on Friday evening at 22:00). ■ Respond according to the rules of the corporate charter. For example, within 48 working hours for internal emails that solicit you personally and explicitly and within 24 hours for emails from outside. ■ Remember to copy the Group / Division assistant if necessary if it is something important that needs to be followed up. ■ If you do not have the information to respond, respond anyway by indicating that you do not have the information but that you plan to have it for the time being, or that you should contact such person.
■ If you are not the person concerned, do not play dead; direct your correspondent to the right person or tell him that you are not the right person. ■ Respond to copy-only emails if you have real added value to add. Again, if you are copied, this email is normally sent to you for information only. If you answer, you will fall into the “ping-pong” (see below) “Answer all” (“Answer all”): ■ Reposition people as recipient and CC. ■ Do not overuse “Reply to all” to say “thank you”, or “I will not be able to attend the meeting”, reply correctly to the sender. ■ Consider systematically reducing the number of recipients in a “reply to all”. ■ Change the title of emails whenever the content of emails changes. ■ When you are given the responsibility associated with an email exchange that is starting to get long, summarize before proceeding. Moreover, here too, it is better to change the title of the email.
For example with “SUJECT thing: Point au 29/10/1999) “Ping Pong” emails: ■ The ping-pong email consists of a successive sending of emails within a group of individuals on the same subject or with multiple reminders on secondary subjects, each time with a few personal comments and often little added value. In the worst case, the ping-pong email ends up with participants who were not present at the start of the exchanges. ■ It takes a stop at the third iteration, then switch to telephone or instant messaging or schedule a meeting. Or even abstain from participating. ■ Use the messaging function, which allows all emails from the same exchange to be grouped together to facilitate their follow-up. “Flame” emails (“Flame”): ■ “Flame” emails are emails containing a lot of adrenaline, questioning others. They are created spontaneously when someone has something to blame someone else for. They also intervene in the context of discussions that become sour.
■ The misinterpretation of the content of these emails and the high likelihood that the recipient of the email will respond violently often exacerbates the situation. In a face-to-face discussion or on the phone, you can play with the intonation of the voice. On the contrary, “flame” emails often contain attempts at humour, irony and sarcasm which are often misinterpreted. Impulsive emails can circulate in mailboxes, be printed, and acquire a degree of importance that was not initially anticipated. They are a real barrier to effective communication and can have a negative impact on productivity and interpersonal relationships. ■ If you are about to send a “flame” email in response to another email, however, take the precaution of carefully reading the email you have received and that there is no risk of misinterpretation. If you use humor or irony, make sure it is clearly identified as such, for example with “smilies”
Good use of email
1 7 First that there is no other effective way to communicate (telephone, meeting). Then, after writing your email, let it sit for a while. Come back to it afterwards to see if you would not regret having sent it. You can also have it read by a loved one. Once insured, you can send it. Title and “descriptors” Title: ■ Clearly state the title of your email in the most concise, comprehensive and clear way.
Think that your interlocutor receives a lot of emails every day. Make him want to read your email. ■ The title must favor the location of the email in a list when the content is not revealed. It must therefore summarize the content (of the type: key points, context, objective, etc.), for example “preparing for a client meeting for the XX” and not “problem” or “discussion”. ■ Deal with only one subject per email. If there are two separate subjects, send two separate emails. ■ Explain the action to be taken if necessary: “for action”, “for information” (FYI: “For Your Information”) “Descriptors” ■ Use the descriptors (signal flags, follow-up) in particular “urgent” only in really priority cases. Writing the email “Body” of the email:
■ In the body of your email, also be clear and concise. Use paragraphs (a maximum of 3 paragraphs should be able to explain the content of your message). As a general rule, do not exceed one screen page. ■ Summarize forwarded long emails. ■ Those who feel more prolific can write a memo or report, however short. Form / style: ■ Email is a communication tool. Every form of communication includes an “etiquette”. Write the emails. The recipient should not have to make any effort to read and understand the email. It must be easy to use for later consultation or by other recipients different from the original ones.
■ Write in good French ■ Be careful of a style that is too telegraphic or too directive ■ Avoid abbreviations or spelling shortcuts (“SMS” style) ■ Be neutral, factual and explicit ■ Words and sentences in capitals correspond to an increase in your. For example, the proper use of CAPITALS: You can write “I ask you to review your price” or “I ASK YOU TO REVIEW YOUR PRICE”. In the second case, you indicate that you SHOUT! Which may not be your intention! ■ If you use humor or irony that will not necessarily be identified as such in a formal message, use smileys (☺) to specify it. Polite formula and email signature: Polite formula ■ Use the marks of consideration in correspondence (Sir/Madam, Sincerely, Thank you in advance).
Be brief in your polite expressions. You can also indicate more developed formulas if the circumstances lend themselves to it. Signature ■ Automatic email signatures are very useful. However, they must be short (max.mum 2/3 lines) and without excessive frills. The basic is to indicate your name, your title, your email and your telephone. ■ A legal notice must complete the signature ■ The address of your company’s website can complete the signature ■ You can add a “disclaimer” (exclusion or limitation of liability clause) ■ Avoid inserting an image that is too large in your signature Rules of good email practice to increase productivity
Attachments ■ You have the opportunity to attach files to your emails (photos, spreadsheets, etc). This function is often represented by a “paperclip” in most messaging software.
■ When the attachments are too large (more than 1 to 2 MB), favor collaborative work solutions. Check before sending ■ Proofread your emails before sending them. ■ Remember that if your message is soporific and you send it to 10 people, you are forcing 10 people to waste their time! What bad publicity! Avoid this inconvenience and RE-WRITE your email. ■ An email is never entirely confidential: avoid responding under the influence of emotion or freely distributing confidential information. ■ Remember that those who receive emails may retain or forward them to people other than the original recipients. Emails can also be scrutinized in legal proceedings, and “informal” comments you have made via email can come to light (and appear in a different light). Use productivity rules for processing and organizing emails Viewing and processing emails Limit the frequency of viewing and processing emails to fixed periods in their calendar (for example morning, noon, afternoon and evening) and suppress the display of email alerts.
■ Use the “reading pane” of your email software to view the content of your emails together with the list of emails. ■ Use the visualization by conversation (“thread”) to condense all the exchanges from the same starting email ■ Perform an action for each email consulted. An applicable rule, for example, is that of the 4 Ds: Do (do), Delete (delete), Defer (defer, mark the email for follow-up), Delegate (delegate). ■ Tell your correspondents to stop sending you certain emails if it is not relevant for you to receive them. ■ Organize filing folders (structured tree structure) in messaging according to themes (customer folder, supplier folder, etc.) and your priorities (processing/search).
Once read or sent, a message can be stored in a folder. ■ Use automatic filing rules to help you process your emails. For example, make directories with emails addressed directly, in copy, coming from your direct superior, coming from mailing lists, etc…. In particular, create specific directories for non-priority emails in the activity: newsletters, personal correspondence, etc. ■ Use follow-up markers for emails to be processed or awaiting a response. ■ Systematically use a local search engine to search for emails or files (search carried out regardless of the location of the element by benefiting from the power of preconstituted indexing). Archiving (see sheet no. 6) ■ Define the rules for keeping emails. For example, archive everything that is more than 3 months old or identify what has legal value to create a separate archive. ■ Define the archiving mode (one or more archive files, locally or on the network, automated or manual, etc.).
Delegation and absence ■ Indicate your absence status if you are unable to consult your emails so that your correspondents can adapt their communication if necessary (automatic forwarding of an absence email). ■ Use delegation rules if you share mailboxes within a team or between a manager and his assistant. ■ In general, avoid the use of “generic” mailboxes due to the complexity introduced by the management and updating of routing rules. Good use of email
Optimizing the organization and follow-up of meetings based on the calendar The effectiveness of meetings is a key subject of the group performance. “Reunionite” is often described as a evils from which French companies suffer. Meetings are considered too long, too numerous, with too many participants, redundant between them, insufficiently prepared and with little follow-up. The control of the opportunity, relevance and rules of meetings is a matter of management decisions that are completely independent of the use of tools. The use of tools only provides a planning, measurement and follow-up instrument for management. In terms of planning, the organization of meetings is linked to email in the sense that it is often the only support tool used (sending of invitations by email, feedback by email, rescheduling of the meeting by email, sending of supporting documents by email).
The systematic and generalized use throughout the company of the calendar for the organization of meetings allows: ■ direct search for dates of availability without having to exchange emails in this preparatory phase , ■ automatically update the participants’ calendars, ■ directly and centrally collect the responses of the various participants, ■ easily reschedule a meeting by automatically updating the calendars of all the participants. The use of the calendar thus makes it possible to significantly limit the emails exchanged. The calendar can also be used, through the meeting creation forms, to promote effective rules for meetings set by management. For example, creating a meeting may require you to enter an objective, an agenda, a list of participants and a meeting room. In certain specific cases (large number of participants, information meeting), it may be more appropriate to use other means of communication (publication on a sharing site, for example).
The publication of meeting support documents on a dedicated intranet site also contributes to improving the organization and follow-up of meetings by allowing: – The availability and updating of meeting support documents, – The collection of accounts -meeting reports, – follow-up of the action plan over the period following the meeting, – storage and availability of the content of the meetings beyond the group of participants in the meetings. Promote the use of collaborative spaces (see sheet 2) The use of messaging is often done to the detriment of collaborative sites for sharing documents. Promoting the use of collaborative sites leads to relieving messaging and developing the sharing of company knowledge. The creation and development of the use of collaborative sites concern in particular the sites of projects, initiatives, teams or relating to areas or subjects of information capitalization. The rules of good practice for email in order to increase its productivity Preface
Limits of email in collaborative work Email: a collaborative tool “in appearance” only Sending an email to a workgroup is temptingly easy. Most email clients allow you to send one or more attached files to a person, or to a work group, whose opinion or modification work you wish to request, in just a few clicks. This facility and this “gift of ubiquity” (sending almost instantly to several people in several places) represented an enormous gain in the years 1995 to 2000 for the circulation of information, exchange, and teamwork. However, a more detailed study of collaborative work processes reveals real limits to the use of email.
On the other hand, since the 2000s, new applications or technologies and more advanced collaborative working methods have made it possible to overcome many of the limitations developed in this chapter. We will deal here with examples of collaborative work within the same organization, i.e. for people from the same company, benefiting from the same company network and the same messaging. The extrapolation of the explanations below to collaborative work in an extended company (company, suppliers, partners, even customers) remains entirely possible, but requires some additional infrastructure investment (Extranet exchange zone, security via a DMZ or Demilitarized zone, sometimes interface between applications, etc.
Limits in the use of email Dangers may appear such as: duplication of content, tracking of worms ions, traceability of processes, security, recovery of history when handing over a file to a new employee. The limits of using email, to the benefit of other communication and collaboration tools Sheet 2 Contents ■ Limits of email in collaborative work ■ The role of email in applications professions ■ Unified messaging ■ Instant messaging Good use of email
E conomic , F inanci al A ffairs , R esearch and N ew Te chnologies D ir ec ti ons 2 1 Behind these dangers lie business issues: possible error, loss of time, non-compliance with requirements of a client… Content duplication At the technical level first of all, sending an email to several people with attached files multiplies by the same amount the volume occupied on disk space. The figure above explains the phenomenon that regularly occurs within a company. The concept of version tracking Sending an email with an attachment can have two purposes:
■ Inform the recipients of the interest of the attached document for reading, filing, 2 3 1 Sending the email and duplicating of the 500 Kb file in x email databases 500 Kb file in the sender’s email (emails sent) Detachment of the 500 Kb file on the hard disk by one of the recipients 500 Kb file on the hard disk Email databases on the server Stages of the phenomenon: 1 – The sender attaches a 500 KB file from his hard disk (or from his disk space on the network) in an email to be sent to 2 people. This file is then also found on the mail server, in the sender’s email database (“sent messages” section) 2- Sending 2 people of the email deposits in the mail database of each recipient this 500 KB file. 3-It is often likely that one (or more) of the recipients will also save the file on their hard drive or network drive.
This scenario with 3 people highlights that a simple 500 KB file ends up occupying between 2 MB and 3 MB (and we do not develop here the possible answers and “forward” with the attachments which will sometimes remain attached). The exponential effect of this duplication (refer to the volumes indicated in the folder and the numbers of emails and files that you receive or send each day) inevitably has technical repercussions on disk space. Disk space is cheap today, but not free… These practices are also detrimental in terms of monitoring and organization. Duplicating Files Preface Introduction
In this case, we can assume that no additional action is required (although this be more subtle). ■ Request change or add-on work from recipients. In the second case, the limits of email collaboration are clearly reached. The figure below gives an example. In the case of a contribution request from several people, everyone will then save the file attached to the email on their disk to modify it, then return a completed version to the initial sender (sometimes with a copy of the others contributors).
This results in the circulation of several versions (version 1.0, version 2.0 or 2.0 bis, modified by another, version 3.0 that a contributor will have modified from version 2.0, forgetting version 2.0bis, etc… ). We find the technical impact on the duplication of files, but above all, the chances of finding and using a well-updated and complete version become limited. For a complex document with 3 or 4 contributors and a collaborative drafting period of 2 or 3 weeks, therefore several updates and additions (a complex commercial contract, a technical document, etc.), the most great rigor of the participants will have difficulty overcoming the risk of presenting an incomplete version at the end. Version 1.0 Version 2.0 bis Version 3.0 Version 1.0 Version 2.0 Version 2.0 bis Version 3.0 Email databases on server Multiplication of versions and difficulty of follow-up Good use of email
The course of a process and traceability The process of reviewing a contract or reviewing a commercial proposal is a process classic in companies, especially since the ISO V2000 standard. This is to European Marketnstrate that the different stages of the process are well respected. This process generally includes the following steps (see figure above): ■ decision to launch the proposal, ■ drafting stage, ■ final review phase, ■ decision to send the final and validated document to the client,…. The notion of process is very important today in collaborative work (ensuring that all the actors use a controlled working method resulting in a good quality of the document). After several weeks of work, the collaboration of 4 or 5 competent contributors, it is often difficult to consolidate all these steps and to ensure that they have all been respected. This is all the more delicate when the whole process has taken place by sending emails, replies, exchanging attachments, via the messaging system. Even if all the emails are kept carefully (see for example sheet 6), it will always be difficult to ensure that all the stages of a process are respected, because of the multitude of emails. emails exchanged, but also because the email does not guarantee compliance with a step or sending by mistake before the final validation step (when it is sent by mistake to the customer, the impacts can be significant, etc.).
This is one of the major limits of email in the collaborative mode: the “non-traceability” and the lack of reliability of the steps. Security Security is also the weak point of email in collaborative mode. A proposal must circulate between the necessary people, but not necessarily be accessible by other people in the organization. Although most mail servers provide anti-copying, anti-forwarding features, most users do not use them. Thus, the attached file does not benefit from any particular security and can be sent to other people, apart from the work team. The email does not provide security specific to the document and even a word document with a password is not sufficient. A password is also communicated… by email… Launch decision Writing stage Collaborative phase Team of contributors Final review Sending to the client OK OK 1 2 3 4 5 V 1.0 V y.0 V x.0 V 10.0 Traceability d a commercial offer review process The limits of the use of email, to the benefit of other communication and collaboration tools Preface
Introduction Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Glossary
2 4 E conomic , F inanci al A ffairs , R esearch and N ew Te chnologies D ir ec ti ons Handing over the file to a new employee Paradoxically to the fact that security is very poor in a collaborative organization founded only on the mail, it is often difficult, in this mode of operation, to integrate a new collaborator. When a new member arrives in the team working on a subject, how do you give him a good understanding of the work in progress and the file? The only solution is often to forward the multiple emails containing attachments and remarks to him, trying not to forget an important email. These few concrete examples of a work team basing collaborative work solely on the use of email European Marketnstrates how much the messaging tool has its limits in this context. Today there are other more suitable applications, which use email in “notification” mode, that is to say to warn contributors, without the email too important. Possible collaborative solutions: Collaborative Document Management applications The market for collaborative applications is quite vast today, both in terms of so-called “Middle-Market” applications, therefore for SMEs, and applications adapted to multi- national.
However, this market has reached a certain maturity and we can find some common properties: ■ Applications are based on a document system, associating a document file with one or more files. These files are used to define the classification, the theme, the type and certain properties of the document and ensure the follow-up in version and modification of the document. ■ Access rights and security are explicit at the level of the document file and the document system: who can modify, who can have access for consultation, etc… and do not depend on the recipients of an email. ■ The creation of a project or collaborative environment. Members are explicitly registered there and no one else can see the documents in this environment. ■ The application sends emails to team members for any changes or events, with a link to the fact sheets. The email carries little information, does not generate content duplication and can be deleted. It also does not carry any access rights.
Thus, even if a person receives this email by mistake, the link does not will not work if it is not known to the system. ■ The application is often associated with a process engine, sometimes very simple, to ensure that certain documents are indeed submitted to certain validation steps by the right people in order to continue their “life cycle”. ■ Finally, depending on the editors, you will find functions to manage nomadism (access to certain documents from the hotel or the plane), “reporting”, advanced search engines, etc…. The subject here is not to highlight one publisher or another, but you can advise your IT manager to go to certain fairs on the subject, such as:
■ Salon Documation ■ Forum de la GEIDE Other tools for sharing and interaction There are also other applications that make it possible to avoid the use of email in an inappropriate way and to clutter the messaging systems: ■ The audio or video conferencing system, with sharing of whiteboard and file, for a contribution of each participant and a teamwork in real time. ■ Instant messaging to discuss and trace a quick conversation on a specific topic. There are also different solutions with reduced online costs (and sometimes the purchase of WebCam). However, be sure to discuss this with your IT manager as it requires some network and security adaptations. Good use of email