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17 May 2021
An email management solution for small shipping companies, using office 365 and Astris TeamWare Suite

The Challenge

In the Shipping sector, email management is a crucial element for the optimal functioning of operations. The requirements are not solely related to the volume of messages that are received and managed every day, they also have to do with the filters and methods employed to achieve efficient management. In cases of relatively small shipping companies (30-60 email users), the infrastructure that is necessary for a reliable email management system of high quality is far too expensive, and therefore, not valuable for the company. On the other hand, there are some more affordable alternative s/w solutions, but their quality is not particularly high.

In order to meet requirements such as large volumes of incoming and outgoing messages, auditing, accountability, and GDPR compliance, a small company needs Office 365.


The Solution

Microsoft Office 365 is a powerful tool for every company. However, guidance is essential for improving performance and utilizing all its elements, as well as for avoiding getting lost in all the information, tools, and trial and error. Metadocs offers this guidance, along with best practices especially suited to shipping companies and other organizations with intensive e-mail communication. Astris Teamware Suite comes together with Office 365, to provide additional functionalities, systematization of these functionalities, and facilitation of the departmental mode of operation.

Specific features of the solution are described below:

  1. Reference Numbers: Unique reference numbers added to all incoming and outgoing messages.
  2. Sender Control: Messages sent by regular department staff to 3rd parties or vessels can automatically obtain departmental email addresses in the “From” field, so that replies always return to the entire department. Exceptions can be allowed to selected staff (e.g. Managers) who may be given the choice to send emails either from a personal or from a departmental email address.
  3. Keywords/Tagging: Messages can be automatically tagged with Outlook’s color categories to offer very quick filtering of messages. This facility allows for the creation of truly efficient Search Folders within Outlook, to provide fast dynamic views. Keywords may also be added quickly to messages by end users. The keywords list shown in the bar is user-defined, but can also be centrally controlled, so that each department can decide on the keywords available to their users for tagging. Compared to the usual Outlook folders, tagging is a far more flexible and productive way of managing messages.
  4. Replied By &Read By: A column in Outlook will show the name of the user(s) who has/have replied to a message right next to it. Users can also be aware of who else has already read a message even before they open it for reading. This way, users know if they should answer an email or if it’s already handled.
  5. Message Archiving: All messages traversing the Exchange Server are automatically captured and stored in single-instance in Astris DM, the powerful Document Management system included in Astris Teamware Suite.
  6. Message Search: Everymail that is stored in Astris DM acquires individual security based on addresses and rules, so that it can be later retrieved by any interested and appropriately privileged user, regardless of whether they ever received it in their inbox in the past. A quick and efficient search mechanism, operating from within Outlook and also available individually as a web site, will guarantee very fast retrieval of messages on demand.

Interesting facts

Microsoft’s Office 365, coupled with Astris TeamWare Suite becomes a powerful contender for message management in the shipping industry

Summary

With Astris Teamware Suite, Microsoft Outlook is transformed into a message management tool, perfect for the departmental structure of specific companies, especially those in the Shipping sector.

Benefits

  • Avoiding delays in responses by streamlining message management and eliminating unneeded actions
  • Spreading the information and ensuring transparency
  • Single repository for messages and prevention of Outlook flooding
Technology

  • Office 365
  • Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Astris TeamWare Suite
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