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In Post-Enron Era, E-Mail Governance Still A Challenge

E-mail governance might not be the sexiest thing when it comes to content technologies, but don't tell that to your CIO or general counsel. Besides keeping them out of jail, a solid e-mail governance strategy drives compliance, improves information retrieval, and reduces paper.
E-mail governance might not be the sexiest thing when it comes to content technologies, but don't tell that to your CIO or general counsel. Besides keeping them out of jail, a solid e-mail governance strategy drives compliance, improves information retrieval, and reduces paper.A company that's trying to fight that good fight when it comes to e-mail governance is MessageGate.

MessageGate has made a name for itself helping some very large companies govern the chaotic world of e-mail. It has some pretty good bloodlines, too, taking what it learned at Boeing and breaking away to target enterprise customers in 2003. According to marketing chief Chris Bradley, MessageGate is approaching profitability and ramping up its sales and marketing efforts to target more clients like current customers Lehman Brothers and Lockheed.

As enterprises push their processes to eliminate paper and minimize warehouses full of stored documents, the percentage of e-mail that becomes business records is increasing. Some people call this a move toward environmental friendliness or green IT, others see it as an area to gain efficiencies and increase productivity. Either way, large increases in e-mail volume clearly create challenges relative to content management, compliance, and security.

"The cost of compliance is rapidly rising, and ad-hoc efforts to address compliance haven't really succeeded," said Bradley.

And apparently some of ECM's bigger names have figured out it's easier to partner with companies like MessageGate.

"The ECM vendors can't take their document management engine and subsume a full-blown e-mail archiving solution," added Bradley.

"The ECM angle for us is an interesting dynamic. We're working with several of the large ECM providers to help their customers get on a better footing when it comes to how they view and manage their e-mail infrastructure. EMC, in particular, has its own formidable e-mail archiving solution, but they still also work with our platform," noted Bradley.

Risk management is obviously critical for all enterprise customers, and it still surprises me that e-mail governance is sometimes viewed as content management's stepchild.

"Rather than keep your head in the sand," concluded Bradley, "companies need to start applying policies and prepare for the inevitable."