How archiving electronic communications can add value for businesses

It’s no secret that email and social media archiving can be used to ease the compliance headache of meeting regulatory, privacy and e-discovery requirements. But the real potential value it affords remains largely undiscovered.

As social and digital channels and content types become more sophisticated and widely adopted, it is apparent they can also be used to enhance productivity and create opportunity. Comprehensive, automated archiving solutions that capture, supervise and retain electronic communications in a search-ready state, can also offer firms considerable benefits beyond compliance.

Smarsh has identified four key benefits of archiving we believe can add significant business advantage:

1. Understanding the Impact of Communications

Having a clear picture of what firms are doing well can reinforce strengths and successes. To discover new synergies and insights, businesses need to be able to “listen as an organisation.” All firms, for example, should be able to analyse and track how quickly and effectively their sales and services teams reply to customer communications and what language is most effective.

2. Managing Risk

The holistic oversight enabled by comprehensive archiving solutions can reduce the risk of “dark corners” in firms. In other words, those environments where remote teams, third party suppliers, or unmonitored social media accounts could wreak havoc with corporate reputation, business outcomes, or service delivery.

For example, an effective archiving solution with policy-driven supervision functionality can identify rogue employees, dissatisfied customers, and potentially negative incidents before irreversible damage occurs. Both customer and employee mentions of competitor brand names, products, and services can be tagged and analysed for any concerning trends, ultimately enhancing competitive intelligence efforts.

3. Quantifying and Analysing Unstructured Data

Many archiving services can track the basic metrics of communications efforts. Nowadays it is fairly straightforward to compile likes, shares, follows, and mentions on social media platforms. But most social media activity produces unstructured data and communication (text, pictures, photos, videos) that won’t fit neatly into a relational database. This data is much more powerful and meaningful when retained in its native format and proper context enabling rich and granular search later on.  Automating the collection and indexing of this data means businesses can measure things like product and service quality, or the quality of leads and relationships created by social media efforts.

4. Future Proofing

By casting a wide enough net and storing the captured data in a secure, reliable and search-ready fashion, firms can keep their proverbial finger on the pulse of customer sentiment, market trends, and emerging challenges. They can also document successes and build on them in timely fashion.

By actively seeking to understand the nuances of the market through the lens of communications, businesses will be able to respond much quicker to unexpected developments. Not only does this allow the collection and scrutiny of data to solve today’s challenges, it also enables advisers to future-proof their business.

Comprehensive, automated archiving is a powerful strategic tool. Businesses are best placed to use it to drive business growth and gain advantage over competitors who don’t have the tools to mine and leverage their data gold dwelling within unstructured communications data.

Read the recent Osterman Research report Next-Generation Archiving: Extracting Intelligence from your Electronic Archives to learn how to get more from your message archives.

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Mike Pagani

Senior Director of Product Marketing and Chief Evangelist at Smarsh
Mike Pagani is a seasoned IT professional and recognized subject matter expert in the areas of mobility, identity and access management, network security and virtualization. Prior to joining Smarsh in November 2014, Mike held executive-level corporate and technology leadership/spokesperson roles for Stay-Linked, Quest Software, NComputing, Dell Software and others.

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