One of the challenges that businesses face are the time and costs associated with managing emails separately from other business documents. Email storage space is expensive, and with multiple copies of emails and attachments customarily stored on the email server, higher costs as well as the ensuing chaos when trying to collaborate with colleagues are inevitable.
Furthermore, retrieving emails from an email server for discovery or audit reasons can be difficult and time consuming. Without the ability to tag or classify documents and email messages within the email program, it can be challenging for users to easily find past emails or documents attached to emails.
And it’s not only hard to find emails, but often documents and email are used in concert on projects, so it makes it doubly hard to see the big picture. Project-related emails are stored in Exchange and project-related documents are stored in SharePoint. If you don’t remember whether the information was stored in an email or document, it becomes really hard to find what you need, when you need it.
In September harmon.ie announced another solution to add to their arsenal of productivity tools for business users. Their newest product addresses the issues that arise specifically from storing emails and documents in multiple places.
Managing Emails on SharePoint
In addition to managing email attachments within SharePoint, harmon.ie now enables managing email messages in SharePoint as well. Their new solution allows you to store, classify, retrieve, and collaborate on emails in SharePoint right from within your email client.
Let’s take a look at some of the new functionality that you can find in the haromon.ie add-in for Microsoft Outlook:
Store Emails on SharePoint
You may be familiar with the ability to store an email attachment in SharePoint if you’ve previously used harmon.ie. Now you can also save email messages themselves to a SharePoint library directly from Outlook using the harmon.ie sidebar.
Clicking Save Message will open a dialog window that completes the upload process. Note that you can also click and drag an email message from the summary view directly to the harmon.ie sidebar to start the upload process.
You can choose to add the email as a new version of an existing document, and can also specify whether you want to delete the email message after saving to SharePoint.
Classify Email Messages
harmon.ie automatically maps email headers, such as To, From, Subject, and Received, directly to SharePoint metadata during the upload process. Email messages are assigned to an Email content type, and if there are additional metadata fields required in the library that you are uploading to, you are prompted to fill out those fields at this time.
If there are attachments to the email message you are also prompted if you want to store those as separate documents in SharePoint, or as attachments to the email message.
Retrieve Email Messages from SharePoint
With email messages being stored in SharePoint, finding them later is a breeze. Because they are classified with the email header metadata, it makes it easier for users to find emails because they are indexed just like other documents.
You can also preview emails before opening them. Simply right-click on the email message in the harmon.ie sidebar and click Show Preview. This opens the document in a preview window so you can view its contents before actually downloading the email.
Collaborate with Colleagues
Users can create a draft email in Outlook and store them in SharePoint before they send them. Users can collaborate on draft email messages just like they would with any other type of document until it is ready to be sent to the recipient.
The draft email functionality works the same way as other documents you are sending in an email from harmon.ie. You can send an email that contains the link to the draft document instead of attaching it to the email, thereby ensuring that everyone is going to SharePoint and editing the same draft copy of the email. This also give you the standard SharePoint benefits of version history and an audit trail on draft emails so you can see what changes were made before being sent.
In my opinion, it really doesn’t make sense to store email messages in a completely separate repository than documents. By storing email messages in SharePoint, companies can take advantage of SharePoint’s powerful search, archiving, version history, and audit trail capabilities in order to make managing and finding email messages easy.
The only way to do this in the past was for users to physically save an email to their hard drive and manually upload to SharePoint. And then manually add all the metadata. What a pain!
harmon.ie has been a pioneer in making it easy for digital workforce users to focus on the business process at hand and get work done, whether it be through a consistent user experience or by bringing Office 365 to the mobile enterprise, including iOS and Android devices.
The new features in harmon.ie make it super easy for users to upload, classify, find, and collaborate on email messages. At the same time reducing the load on their company’s email server. It seems like a win-win for business users and IT.
Latest Release of harmon.ie
As I’m writing this review, I’ve learned about harmon.ie’s latest release – harmon.ie 2016 – and I want to share the details on that here as well.
harmon.ie is adding mobile and email support for Office 2016. This is important because even with the improvements around collaboration and document management with the Office 2016 and SharePoint 2016 releases, they still don’t solve the enterprise challenges that many organizations face. harmon.ie 2016 addresses those issues with the following features:
- A single-screen experience for structured collaboration across desktop and mobile devices
- The ability to use SharePoint as a single repository for emails and documents
- Full metadata support for SharePoint team sites on mobile and desktop
- Secure offline mobile access to documents, emails, tasks, calendars, announcements, contacts, and wikis
On top of that, they also provide support for Mac computers and devices!
Product review is sponsored by harmon.ie, but opinions are my own