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Fed up of Outlook’s Public Folders?

11 September, 2019

Frustrated by Public Folders? You aren’t alone. We hear this all the time. Yes, Outlook is the go-to email platform for most businesses, however, it was never designed to file and share the volume of correspondence project-based businesses have to deal with.  

The only attempt to address the challenges faced by Microsoft is to provide Public Folders, which have now been further complicated through the adoption of Office 365.

Public Folders fails to answer the following critical questions:

  • Will all my team file their emails consistently?
  • Can I go and find an email in a folder quickly?
  • Can I avoid seeing five copies of the same thing?
  • Can I see emails we’ve sent and received on a project to ensure we have a full audit trail?
  • Do my staff actually want to use them or will they keep sensitive information in their Inbox?

We know people don't file consistently to Public Folders and never use the search to find emails there, meaning there's a risk of information getting lost, but also you end up wasting time searching for information.

Here are a few pain points we regularly hear on why Public Folders isn't fit for purpose today:

  • You're reliant on staff to manually file emails to them and people don't, resulting in inconsistent filing.
  • Sent items are never filed.
  • Public Folders are hard to search - you can only search project by project, not across everything. So, for example, if you wanted to see all emails from a particular consultant across all projects you can’t, and it's very slow.
  • People have to use an Outlook search, meaning they often just rely on what’s in their inbox.
  • Public folders are becoming more and more difficult to lock down with permissions, and Microsoft is making it harder because they have said they are going to take away all support and want people to move away from them.
  • If anything happens with Outlook and you haven't backed it up, you'll lose them.
  • You can't search emails on your phone in Public Folders if they are over a few months old.
  • Emails being moved from Public Folders at the end of a project into PST files on the server are easily corrupted.

John McCall Architects had a similar issue. Colin Usher, Director and John McCall Architects said,

"For some time we have been very aware that email is both a critical communication medium and record-keeping problem. A couple of years ago we decided that we needed to have a better way of keeping email in a job-based filing system. We used MS Outlook Public Folders to do this in the first instance, but this was never considered to be a satisfactory solution. As part of our ISO 9001 QA research, we recognised that it is very difficult to manage email and to ensure that copies of all critical email are actually stored correctly. Along with this, multiple copies of emails were being stored, which makes the finding of email a bit more complicated when searching back for historical documents.

With Mail Manager, you remove the reliance on staff and give them a search they love using. The benefits for John McCall Architects were revolutionary, including better security, the ability to back up and archive projects with all data included in a single package, and having the comfort that the email messages are easily found.

Here’s how Mail Manager can help solve your Public Folders challenges:

1 - Stores both sides of the conversation, both sent and received

2 - Smart prompting ensures everyone files consistently

3 - Powerful search so you don’t have to waste time digging through historic emails

4 - De-clutter your storage

Mail Manager makes for better, more efficient, and more powerful collaboration.

Turn your email into a powerful tool

In a nutshell, Outlook’s Public Folders are outdated and ill-suited for today’s fast-paced ‘data-rich’ business world. Fortunately, there is a simple Outlook add-in readily available to provide you with the capability to turn your email into a powerful information management tool.

Want to learn more about Mail Manager? You can always request a bespoke demo with our team. We also offer a 15-day free trial if you'd like to try it out right away. Download it here

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