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horatio_too
 asked on

Categorization of Emails using Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2010

Hi

I am about to migrate from Exchange 2003 (on SBS) to Exchange 2010 (probably on SBS 2011) and will also be updating our PC clients to Outlook 2010 (See Question ID 27788983).

As part of this migration, I would like to implement a categorisation system for incoming and outgoing emails, for subsequent cross-referencing /retrieval by category.

Note that I am NOT just looking for the Outlook 'out of the box' (red green blue...) system

Instead, emails will need perhaps 3 or 4 different categories e.g.:-

1) Company code
2) Project
3) Department
4) Retain until (date)
5) etc

The classifications correspond to fields/data held in our SQL server line-of-business application and will be 'dynamic'.

Ideally I want to use drop-down boxes populated with this SQL server data, to avoid user 'typos', probably sitting on the Ribbon when the user opens the email.

I'm reasonably  proficient in VBA and hope that somebody can point me in the direction of Outlook/Exchange metadata fields that I can use to store my classifications, together with code samples

Alternatively, is there a commercial offering that will do this for me or does anybody have a better suggestion as to how best to achieve this ?

As always, all input gratefully received.

Kind regards

Horatio_too
OutlookExchangeMicrosoft SQL ServerMicrosoft OfficeSBS

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Last Comment
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

8/22/2022 - Mon
horatio_too

ASKER
Hi

Having done some further digging, the only third-party product that I have so far found is Implicit Mailroom:-


http://www.implicitweb.com/ImplicitMailroom.aspx 
This comes 'close' to what I am looking for, but ideally I would like to code a solution myself, to fully meet our business needs  and to allow tight integration with our line-of-business application.

In the meantime, I will contact Implicit and see about pricing, customisation etc.

Kind regards

Horatio_too
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

What you want to accomplish really can't be done in Outlook because each user's category settings are unique.

Instead consider doing this in SharePoint.  There are some 3rd party tools that can assist with this so you don't have to learn how to program in SharePoint yourself.  One such tool is here:  http://www.colligo.com/products/sharepoint/colligo-email-manager/

(FYI, I have NOT used this product, only have heard about it)

Jeff
TechSoEasy
horatio_too

ASKER
Hi Jeff

Many thanks for the feedback.

An 'interesting' approach and worthy of consideration.

However, ideally I was after an Exchange/Outlook-based solution, so would be interested in understanding your comment that

"What you want to accomplish really can't be done in Outlook because each user's category settings are unique"

As I understand it, Implicit Mailroom, for example,  stores the metadata within Exchange, so would really appreciate the issue around 'category settings'.

Kind regards

Horatio_too
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

Implicit Mailroom is a third-party tool -- I have never used it, but a quick glance at their site shows that it does NOT store metadata within Exchange, but rather it uses SQL, just as SharePoint does.  

Jeff
TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

BTW, you might be able to accomplish what you want with Business Contact Manager:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/outlook-2010-with-business-contact-manager-features-and-benefits-HA101808863.aspx

It is a free add-on for Outlook 2010 if Outlook was licensed with Office Standard or Professional Plus.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
horatio_too

ASKER
Hi Jeff

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Understanding that the diagrams on the Implicit website show SQL server, I believe that this is probably only to hold the 'available categories' tables from which the user chooses, not to actually store the metadata associated with each email.

Indeed, the following is an excerpt from an email from Implicit's CTO in response to some of my queries :-

The metadata of each email is stored in Exchange

..which is (hopefully) quite definitive !

Although, from previous experience, BCM may offer some of the functionality, I have always had difficulties with categories etc in a multi-user environment in earlier versions of BCM, so would be reluctant to choose that particular path.

I have contacted Colligo regarding prices and will feedback more when I get a response

Kind regards

Horatio_too
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

While it is true that EMAIL metadata is stored in Exchange, Outlook categories are NOT part of that set of data... so any categorization of email that you are trying to effect is done after the fact and would NOT be part of the actual email message.  Instead, I believe these products link the email message ID to a SQL table for the remainder of the information.

This is why I suggest SharePoint instead.  If you use SharePoint, the email message will be imported into the SharePoint SQL database and then all relevant data will reside in a single location which makes it much faster and easier to manipulate as needed.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy

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