While indicating that people are saving a zillion emails can be
impressive, we found that measuring the total space consumed by email
to be more impressive. The Email Management Project that I outlined in
my presentation at ARMA in New Orleans showed very directly how
management can influence overall costs of maintaining email. When we
started the project just over a year ago, we had about 2.7 terabytes of
email. At the time, that was more storage space than our mainframes had
in DASD. We set a target of a 10% reduction, which would have resulted
in a $2.6 million annual savings to the organization (solely in backup
media, devices and time). We actually reduced to 1.5 terabytes.
(There's a whole lot more to the story and if you have the ARMA
Proceedings you can read my white paper. This was not simply a sweep
and destroy sort of project -- records management had a huge role.)
The other impressive numbers were traffic. Indicating to management
that 80,000 messages a day were going to and from the Internet -- and
better than half of that traffic was personal (based upon the domain
names of origin and destination addresses) -- also had an impact.
The vast majority of our email contains attachments, which are clearly
the bane of any email system. I suppose measuring the average size of
email without attachments and then the average size with attachments
would yield a target number that could be gained by limiting email to
plain text with pointers to attachments stored in an EDMS.
We are measuring email size right now, trying to figure out an optimal
maximum limit -- we have had people attach the entire contents of a
CD-ROM (650MB) to an email and try to send it out. That size of email
(and apparently, anything greater than 30MB) will break the mail
Pat Cunningham, CRM
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