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Email Migration: How to keep users happy

In order to do their job, email users expect to be able to locate and retrieve their archived emails quickly and easily.

This expectation does not change just because you migrate the business to use a new archive system….

A huge challenge in ensuring a seamless user experience is in correctly handling mailbox shortcuts during migration.  The use of ‘stubs’ or shortcuts to retrieve archived emails is commonplace.  In fact many vendors work hard to make their shortcuts ‘look and feel’ like regular emails, which means users will delete, folder,  re-folder,  forward, and even put shortcuts into PST files, just as they would regular emails.

Herein lies a problem, as very few legacy archives are able to keep an accurate track of what happens to mailbox shortcuts after they have been created.  In fact some archives don’t even record where an item was at the point at which it was archived.

This means that migrations  driven by the contents of an archive database alone, and that do not take into consideration the contents of users’ mailboxes, are fundamentally flawed, and can result in very unhappy users post-migration.

FACT 1:  Even if your legacy archive has mechanisms to track shortcut deletions, end users can bypass them.  `

For example, Symantec Enterprise Vault (EV) is good at keeping track of deleted shortcuts, however not all deletions are registered, such as where users drag shortcuts into the Outlook deleted items folder (rather than highlighting them and using the delete option that links with EV).

This means you risk restoring items that a user has previously deleted, causing much confusion to end users, and costing you time and money to move something that was no longer needed.

FACT 2:  Some archives don’t capture the initial folder location of items when they are archived, let alone track any subsequent re-foldering of shortcuts (e.g. into project and customer-related folders).

Not having the most up-to-date folder location (or no location at all) means migrated items could be moved to the wrong folder, or into a default folder, making it difficult for users to locate their emails post-migration and resulting in loss of productivity or even loss of business.

FACT 3:  Where shortcuts have been forwarded or shared with co-workers, this fact is not always reflected in the archive database.  

This means that users will lose access to email records post-migration, again, creating productivity issues.

FACT 4:  If you’re moving to an archive service that doesn’t use shortcuts (such as Microsoft Office 365), leaving legacy shortcuts behind in user’s mailboxes will create mass confusion.

As well as restoring a copy of archived emails into the correct archive folders (see above points), you need to be able to delete legacy shortcuts from users’ mailboxes, either prior to your switch-over or immediately after.

To ensure your migration is a success for the business, maintaining user transparency is vital.   TransVault Migrator delivers a number of unique mailbox services to address these and other various other issues relating to shortcuts.

For more information on mailbox services and platforms  supported by TransVault, contact us.

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