The New Email

Let’s talk about email.  Specifically, email for people with government accounts.  For all of us who work for the DoD or are in the military, we’ve all got one.  Whether we want it or not.

mail button greenSo, to all of you who have one of those official government-type emails, how do you like it?  Because I’ll tell you something, I think it’s [SECTION REDACTED].

Wa—Hey!

Okay fine.

I guess I can say that there are some things that could stand to be improved.  *cringes for reaction*

Well it’s true, and I think it’s safe to say I’m not alone on this one.

But hark, who goes there?  Is that the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) with an alternative?  An Enterprise-level, DoD-wide alternative that could streamline a lot of things for all us living in the government emailverse?

Oh, no.  Actually that’s a plane.  I may have had too much coffee today.

Seriously, though, DISA’s got a one-stop-shop solution to all those .mil, .army, .navy, .extraterrestrial email addresses we have.

It’s called the DoD Enterprise Email, and for some it’s the .mail you’ve been waiting for.  It’s a global, holistic email system designed exclusively for the Department of Defense.  Originally created in 2007, the DoD Enterprise Email is starting to take shape in an over-a-million-users type of way.

“The purpose of DoD Enterprise Email was to create a single solution within the department so we could converge all the spare email systems that are being run by the individual organizations today into a single enterprise solution,” says John Hale, Chief of Enterprise Applications at DISA.

The reason is two-fold, he says.

“One is to create cost efficiencies from the department from a sheer consolidation effort, and [the second is] to increase collaboration and communication among the warfighter.”

Let’s break it down.

First, it’s not mandatory, so that’s exciting.

Any time there is a choice involving procedure it’s a pretty enthralling affair.  Mr. Hale says they don’t think it’s necessary to make it mandatory.  They believe they’ve made the option attractive enough so organizations will want to be a part of it, rather than being obligated.

Second, it connects you to everyone else in the entire system – all 4.5 million of them.

Yep that’s right; the Enterprise Email system is designed to let you reach out to anyone else with a common access card with a snap of your fingers.

Well, with a click of your mouse, but you get my point.

Additionally, this doesn’t mean that you have to scroll through millions of people in the Global Access List (if you don’t want to); they’re broken down in categories.

The email addresses are also updated in real time.  So if you convert to the new way, and another person in your department has not, no worries.  You’ll be able to communicate seamlessly and all updates will be invisible to the user.

Third, there is more than one way to access the email.

Here’s where this is appealing to me.  Accessibility is an often overlooked necessity when it comes to email efficiency, don’t you think?  This new email can be accessed through two ways, Mr. Hale says.

“The first one is through the traditional Outlook client – the desktop client.  You can also use a web browser.  We offer full OWA Outlook web access through a browser.”

Fourth, you can keep your old email.

“DoD Enterprise email offers 4 GB of storage to every user on the system,” Mr. Hale explains.  “So there’s lots of room to bring data over.”

Again, this is another thing that’s optional.  Every organization and user gets to choose to move it or lose it, so to speak.  Mr. Hale did note that most of the organizations that made the switch chose to migrate their files over, but it’s at the discretion of the movers and the shakers.

Fifth, file sharing, file sharing, file sharing.

If you use your government email, you have hopefully noticed by now that there’s a size limit to what you can send.  The standard is 20MG per attachment.  Groan all you want, but it’s there for a reason, people.  The system would be overloaded with HugeAttachmentitis otherwise.  Yes it would.  And you know it.  Anyway, the Enterprise Email system has an alternate solution in place.

“ We’ve launched a capability called EFS,” Mr. Hale explains.  “It stands for Enterprise File Sharing, which is a completely separate enterprise service.  It allows you to put files into a Dropbox- like capability out on the website.  Then you can email the link to your individual users, too.”

That’s a pretty good way of getting around that 20MG attachment limit that’s DoD-wide, don’t you think?

Okay, so when you break it all down, maybe this is one of those changes that actually turns out to be a pretty good thing.  The DoD Enterprise Email allows all email through all the joint enterprise branches and departments to join together, you can access through the web, it’s got a lot of space, and it has a strategy for file sharing.

Well that all sounds pretty convenient, I must say.  This *does* make that whole “digital communication” thing a little easier to accomplish.  You know what?  I’m going to go ahead and say this is a good idea.  Please don’t let me regret it.

Want to make the change?  Click here for details.

Speaking of email…

We want to hear from you!  Do you have an opinion on the current email system, or are currently integrated into the new one?  Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

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