Skip

For what purpose was enterprise push email designed?
February 6, 2013 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Would you agree that enterprise push email technology was primarily designed to push email from a single enterprise mailbox (unless you happen to work for multiple enterprises)?

At my place of employment we run Exchange and most folks with mobile devices have separate, dedicated "mobile mailboxes" that are dedicated to mobile use. They essentially use their devices as pagers. This is typical across the medical staff and prior to the push-email setup, the medical staff used alpha-pagers, so this is a logical continuation of that setup. They want to be woken up in the middle of the night if it's important, but they don't want every email flowing into their phone.

As of late, most new managers that start in the organization immediately request the ability to synchronize with their primary mailbox, often eschewing the use of a separate dedicated mailbox. Our sysadmin finds this unfathomable.

I would argue that this is the most common "use case" of enterprise push email: retrieving any message you wish, getting notified of new email messages in your single solitary mailbox. I think it's beyond debate and feel sheepish posting this, but it's hard to find supporting evidence of what I think is a pretty obvious conclusion: of course this is what BlackBerry Enterprise Server was designed to do, along with other technologies like Good and ActiveSync, and most users are interested in retrieving all of their corporate email. I personally do this, using rules to move the less-important email to other folders so I don't get notified when they arrive.

Our sysadmin is adamant that this is foolish, I suspect because he personally doesn't like this approach himself, and because "we've always done it the other way." These might be uncharitable interpretations but I just don't get it.

I think he's behind the times and he's literally accused me of "thinking I'm god" when I explained that this technology was really intended for syncing with a "primary mailbox" and not some extra dumping ground.

To be honest I want something to be able to point at, and I think the internet might benefit from this thread if future people in my role are forced to question their sanity about such a simple concept.
posted by aydeejones to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
I think he's behind the times and he's literally accused me of "thinking I'm god" when I explained that this technology was really intended for syncing with a "primary mailbox" and not some extra dumping ground.
This is not a productive line of reasoning for either of you.

Within the framework of your organization, you need to do the following:

1. Identify who is responsible for defining and implementing IT projects
2. Identify the business value of the use case you have identified
3. Work with the person or group identified in step (1) to plan out the implementation of step (2)
4. Step back and let it happen.

A "sysadmin" should be someone who implements IT policy, not the person who determines it. If your IT group is small enough, you might have only one person that wears all these hats. In that case, you need to approach your "sysadmin" not on the basis of system administration, but on the basis of solving this problem.

It may be the case that it is cost-prohibitive to implement the change you want. But you need to approach the problem from a planning perspective, rather than some kind of abstract philosophy argument combined with name calling. If you dig deep enough, I can almost guarantee you that any "enterprise" product was designed to make the company designing it a shit-ton of money while poorly appropriating some more idealistic design.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:10 PM on February 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


It sounds like you and the other managers are able to do this as you like ("I personally do this,"), but you're just looking for resources to use to argue about which use case is more normal - is that right?
posted by jacalata at 2:18 PM on February 6, 2013


Yes, supporting resources, something to refer to beyond an assertion.

I strive not to devolve into name-calling, but the "behind the times" streak comes out pretty frequently and is a tricky thing to navigate (I don't say "U R BEHIND TIMES LOL", and instead try to find supporting evidence), even when it comes to things like fighting against the Windows 7 searchable start menu. There's a lot of passion in the group.

I also tend to see challenges like these more from the user's perspective, which is my biggest weakness according to the systems admin (and I can see his point where he stands, we all wear a ton of hats and I can be a thorn in his side, and vice-versa) but is seen as a strength in most the organization that has worked well and lead to my current position: knowing what people need almost heuristically most of the time, and advocating for them, so they tend to come to me for all manner of things when they aren't happy with a particular policy.

Most folks are "forced" into having the dual-mailbox setup as a matter of course (no written policy that I know of) and the newer blood will approach me (as "Systems and Support Analyst") to ask if they have a choice, so then it turns into a debate about what the user really wants and a matter of how powerful they are in the organization.

I think a flexible setup makes sense and we have allowed a few folks to go with the single-mailbox setup, but basically you have to be IS, a director / C-level, or an owner (arguably the owners are the ones where the "pager-style" setup is the most appropriate).
posted by aydeejones at 2:38 PM on February 6, 2013


Our sysadmin is adamant that this is foolish, I suspect because he personally doesn't like this approach himself, and because "we've always done it the other way." These might be uncharitable interpretations but I just don't get it.

So, you don't actually know what the opposition is, but you surmise it must be stupid and therefore he is stupid. If you can't actually articulate what the problem is, how are you to resolve it ?

I suspect the problem lies in that if the system has grown around a particular use case, then adding and supporting additional use cases can be a pain. Part of that is "Not Invented Here-ism" and part of that is "if it is stupid and it works, it isn't stupid-ism". Even at that, as a sysadmin, I do all sorts of things so that User A can have things work like this and User B can have things work like that - but there are limits and some of them are varying degrees of arbitrary because I want to go home, too.

I think you'll have the most success if you can get him fired - after all, you're much better suited to the position and he's obviously incompetent. After all, this isn't the only conflict you are going to have going forward - you'll need a more permanent solution.

Alternatively, you could come on down off your high horse and try actually find out what the problems are and help to resolve them.

Most folks are "forced" into having the dual-mailbox setup as a matter of course (no written policy that I know of) and the newer blood will approach me (as "Systems and Support Analyst") to ask if they have a choice, so then it turns into a debate about what the user really wants and a matter of how powerful they are in the organization.

You could suggest that they set up a rule to forward the messages from the mobile account to the main account.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:55 PM on February 6, 2013


I have the double email setup like that, for exactly the same purpose. (The second email replaced an alpha pager). The both go to my blackberry, but the regular email just makes the "plink" noise, while the pager email makes a pager noise. (I literally got a microphone and recorded the sound before I had to turn the pager in.) So in that use case, it makes perfect sense to have two separate email addresses that aren't synched with one another.

But for normal use cases, yes, the idea that one's primary work email can synch to one's smartphone is completely normal and expected in a corporate setup.

I'm not even sure I understand what your manager's opposition to this is. Some people only want one email address instead of two? That seems like a win. Does he have some kind of partitioning going on where the "pager" emails are on a different server or domain, and the normal email server is not accessible to the outside world? If it's that, then he is just being behind the times. Unless there is some valid HIPAA or SEC kind of reason.

But ultimately, unless there are valid reasons coming from his bosses, he is just being an autocrat. IT is supposed to support the work of everyone else, and just because he doesn't want to work that way doesn't mean that the rest of the world doesn't want to.
posted by gjc at 5:23 PM on February 6, 2013


As an exchange admin, I can tell you that my company also implements mobile only accounts, but they are used VERY rarely. I'm hard pressed to find a reason to prefer two separate accounts per individual as opposed to one. Which is not to say his/her method is not without merit. Just that I for one find it out of place.

Are you sure he/she is in charge of the policy? As the "everything" admin at my business I have 'final' say in what happens. In practice however, as long as the system will tolerate it and it won't cause me extra work, I often go with executive practice making case by case exceptions where I believe the users are capable/benefited enough.
posted by one4themoment at 6:35 PM on February 6, 2013


Your question is not about technology. All the technology is designed to do is to get BUCKET_OF_DATA from place A to place B.

Company policy defines what BUCKET_OF_DATA is, which users it's for, how devices get managed, etc.,

Nothing about either setup is unique or strange or "wrong" for either Exchange, BES, or ActiveSync. It's just a policy definition and associated procedures for how e-mail accounts get set up.

It's unclear what your role is, but you did note in your question that you may be working in a medical field, in which case the need for a pager analog may be very strong. If you get 100 e-mails every hour, but one of them is critical, that's a valid business reason to make separate accounts.

I agree it's odd that you can't apparently opt NOT to do this, but, hey.
posted by odinsdream at 1:44 PM on February 7, 2013


« Older I was DLA Piper's wikipedia pa...   |  I am looking for some suggesti... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post