Just how tough is it to manage e-mail?

* Survey on how organizations manage their e-mail systems

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We recently completed a survey for Zenprise, a small company that provides automated troubleshooting capabilities for Microsoft Exchange environments. The survey asked a number of questions of those involved in managing Exchange for their organizations and found a number of interesting things about how organizations manage their e-mail systems:

* E-mail managers spend an average of 18% of their typical work week troubleshooting problems with Exchange, issues end users are having with e-mail, etc.

* In more than one-half of organizations, e-mail managers find out about e-mail server problems from their end users, not from any sort of monitoring solution.

* Many e-mail managers spend some or all of their holidays working to resolve e-mail problems. Over the past two years, 42% of respondents spent at least part of their Christmas day resolving e-mail problems; 55% spent at least part of Thanksgiving doing so; and 58% spent the Fourth of July working on e-mail.

* One in seven e-mail managers has had their job threatened because of an e-mail problem.

Part of the problem with e-mail management is just that there is so much to do.  Not only must an e-mail manager maintain e-mail server hardware and software so it stays up and running virtually 100% of the time, they must also manage systems that deal with viruses, spam, spyware, encrypted e-mail, business continuity, backups, archiving and a raft of user issues, not to mention the sometimes strange interactions among these systems. The result is an increasingly difficult environment in which messaging managers operate.

What this strongly indicates is that A) e-mail management is by no means an easy or trivial task, and B) there is a need among e-mail managers for tools that can help to proactively diagnose e-mail problems before they get out of hand. Tools that can short-circuit the troubleshooting process can go a long way toward making e-mail managers' lives a bit easier.

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