Friday, June 1, 2007

The White House email controversy: help us find those missing messages


By David Gewirtz

I once had an old boss who told me never to present him with a problem unless I had a suggested solution to go with it. I've kept this in mind throughout most of my professional career and I've found it to be very helpful advice. Even if the proposed solution wasn't perfect, coming up with possible solutions always got me thinking -- and moving towards making things work instead of just complaining about what was broken.

"This is a great opportunity to show off your talents and professional skill."

Over the past few weeks, we've been talking a lot about the problems with email at the White House and what's broken. We've talked very little about possible solutions to the problem.

Between our OutlookPower and DominoPower magazines, we probably reach more active Notes/Domino and Outlook/Exchange experts than any other organization. In this article, I'm calling on you, asking for your help in coming up with some possible solutions to the many problems we've uncovered.

If you send me your ideas (3 or 4 paragraphs will be plenty), and they're constructive and good, I'll run them in a week or two. As an added bonus, I'll include a short description of your qualifications and a link back to your Web site, so this is also a great opportunity to show off your talents and professional skill.

Let me be clear before I go into details: I'm looking for professional, technical solutions ideas, not political commentary. We've avoided politics throughout this series and we need to keep it that way. If you want to go back and refresh your memory on what we've covered, visit our full Special Report article directory.

Three specific problem areas

In our investigation, we've found three specific problem areas where new technical solutions can help:

  • How do we recover 5 million or so missing or deleted email messages?
  • How do we set up archiving for both official government and high-level political email?
  • How can we avoid these problems in the future, yet allow incoming administrations the flexibility to change their administrative structure and take advantage of new technologies?

Approaching the solutions

Just to give you an idea of what I'm looking for, let's take the first problem area and look at finding a solution. How could we find those missing email messages?