An e-mail management survey conducted by ZyLAB on government attendees at the FOSE show, reveal that although there are some improvements to managing e-mail, there is still quite a bit of work to do to ensure these "records" are easily accessible when they are required.

In 2005, 100 percent surveyed responded that they believe e-mail is an official "record" and that e-mail is a primary means of communication for getting their jobs done. Going on that premise in 2006, the survey focused on how these records are being managed today.

"How often do you back up your e-mail," was a question asked in 2005 and again in 2006. There was almost no change in the responses to this question -- in fact, there was a very slight decrease in the number of individuals that claim to back up information on a daily basis -- from 54 percent in 2005 to 52 percent in 2006. The response of "never" backing up e-mail went from 24 percent in 2005 to 26 percent in 2006. However, organizations are putting in e-mail management polices as 70 percent said they have a policy in place compared to 65 percent in 2005.

A summary of the key findings:

  • On Average, how many e-mails do you receive each day? 24 percent responded they receive less than 25 e-mails, 38 percent receive 26-50 e-mails, and 38 percent receive more than 50 e-mails
  • How often do you back up your e-mail? 52 percent said daily, 12 percent weekly, 8 percent monthly, 2 percent yearly, and 26 percent never
  • Does your organization have an e-mail management policy in place? 70 percent said yes, 30 percent said no
  • Can you easily search and find e-mail? 76 percent said yes
  • Can you easily search and find e-mail that was sent to you over six months ago? 51 percent said yes, 49 percent said no.
"During the past 12 months we have seen an increase in e-mail management policies yet many individuals seem to be ignoring them based on how often people are backing up their e-mail," said Dr. Johannes Scholtes, president of ZyLAB North America. "Considering that we all agree that e-mail is an official record, there needs to be an improvement on the ability to find this information quickly, especially if it is over six months old. Implementing policies and associated information access technologies can aid in improving this process."