04Aug, 2014

Email Management

The IT landscape is changing at an amazing speed and even techies have to struggle  to keep up with the change.  In the large corporate sector, IT managers undergo  constant training to enable them to keep abreast with the change but for the small business sector, many have to do it themselves. It is for this sector that we have  compiled an article on the most important system for any small business manager – Email Management

Business managers are very busy people and  a manager for a small business is even busier than your average person. For this reason, the most important IT system for a small business manager is a modern portable device and a unified mail system that can manage multiple accounts.   This system will enable the manager keep abreast with multiple tasks and multiple projects from a single console.

A communication system like this will require both hardware and software and for the hardware, an ipad or tablet device is ideal as it is small enough to be carried around and big enough to read text clearly. Armed with such a device, the next most important thing is to identify a mail system that works on the device and can be used to converge multiple email addresses e.g. gmail, yahoo mail and your official business mail. Having all this in one place is a sure guarantee that you are totally updated on all that is going on within your business world and in your personal life.

Some mail systems that you can use include ,

K-9 is one of the most popular non-Gmail email clients on Android, and with good reason. It is a community-driven, open source project that is constantly being improved. The most striking feature of K-9 is that, it is designed with Gmail in mind. That means that non-Gmail accounts you add will gain a few interesting features and have a gmail look and feel. If you are used to Gmail this is a good application to have and because it is free, you do not need to spend money on the software itself . Some features of K-9 are, it has a Unified Inbox well placed at the top,  a folder that holds all your messages read or not and a search tool that makes the app perfect for searching. There is support for Exchange 2003 and 2007, but it lacks many of the features IT departments require which  makes it unsuitable for large organizations that require more security in mail configuration.  K-9 Mail is free and manages email well.

Touchdown (Exchange) for Android
If you need a full-featured Exchange solution for Android, then Touchdown is what you need. It has full support for Microsoft Activesync and Exchange Web Services. That means that not only can you get your email pushed down, but your calendar, contacts, and tasks as well.
These are features that are required in many IT departments .  In addition, It supports PIN lock, device wipe, encryption, and remote administration. Interestingly, if your employer has to remote wipe the enterprise data, it won’t affect the rest of the phone.
The user interface in Touchdown is a little complex, particularly in the calendar app. There are a lot of gradients and too many buttons. The  app has been designed to support enterprise features and is a good tool for larger organizations with more complex systems that require more features.  . There is a 30 day free trial, but after that, a Touchdown license will cost USD 20. Definitely worth it if you can afford.

This app is written from the ground up to be a complete replacement mail application  that can handle Gmail and other email accounts very well. MailDroid is one of the older unified mail systems and has been improving its appearance over time.
Rather than bring Gmail-style features in, MailDroid approximates the important ones, and then emphasizes general email features and a solid interface. The main screen in MailDroid lists your accounts, and has a unified inbox as well. There is also a Bookmarks section that links to Drafts, Outbox, and Sent folders.
Search is handled easily and one key feature of Maildroid is that when you receive mail, MailDroid will cache the headers on the SD card. After a time, it will cycle the older ones out. Similarly, if you want to compose mail with a poor internet connection , or even no connection, MailDroid won’t trouble you. Mail that can’t be sent lives in the outbox, and you can send it out once you have the connection  again.

Enhanced Email
Another mail application for your android device is Enhanced Email. This is a light-weight custom email client that supports POP/IMAP as well as some features of exchange. The first thing users will notice is that the interface in Enhanced Email is clean, and efficient. The top of the accounts screen has a Combined Inbox for all your accounts, and the individual ones are below. Search is fast in Enhanced Email, and there are soft keys for it throughout the UI. You will be able to manage mail offline with Enhanced Email rather easily. All your messages will queue up in an outbox accessible via link below the combined inbox. When you have a connection , just open the out box  and tap the Send All button to sync up.
No doubt the list above is not exhaustive and some professional help will do so that you can configure your mobile device to handle all your email accounts.  Proper configuration of all your accounts will ensure that you are up to date on all your communication at all times and wherever you are. Definitely this is the most important system for any small business manager.

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