Using Kerio public folders in place of mail groups


2012/03/27



Let's say that you want have a group address such as "sales" at your mail server. One way to do that is to use a Kerio group. You'd create a group, give it an email address (which does not count against your license, by the way) and assign users to it. That works, but there is another way to accomplish the same thing with shared public folders, and there can be advantages to this approach.

First come, first served

Customers send email to [email protected] I've been handling these messages, but business has become so good that I've had to hire a new salesman - Ralph.

No, I haven't hired anyone. This is just an example.

I could set up a group address of "sales" and put myself and Ralph in it. Any mail sent to "sales" would get copied to both of us.

That's not what I really want, though. I don't want both of us replying to the customer - I want somebody to reply, but not both. Ideally, I'd like whoever sees the email first to act on it and then have it not be visible to others in the sales group. I can do exactly that with a public folder.

The alias

The first thing to do is setup an alias attached to some real mail account. As I already have that (and many other aliases) under my own name, we can leave it like that.

Aliases

Next, I need to create a public mail folder. I'm going to call it "New Leads". I need to be an administrator to do that. I'm showing this in Webmail, but you could do it from the Outlook Connector also..

I don't give administrative rights to my mail login. I have a separate account with a different password for administration.

Folder creation

After creating the folder, I need to assign access rights. By default, all users are granted read access. I'm going to remove those rights and add rights for myself and Ralph.

This is a good time to think about the future, though. Maybe someday I'll have thirty salespeople , so it might be apart to create a new "Salespeople" group that I could add salespeople to as I hire them. I could then set access rights to that "Salespeople" group rather than adding and removing individuals.

Let's do it that way, shall we? This is done in Kerio Connect Administration. Note that for this use you do NOT need to add an email address for the group. Nobody needs to send email to "Salespeople", so I'll just add myself and Ralph as "Users" and I'm done.

Salespeople group

I can now give access rights to the "Salespeople" group. Back in Webmail, I right click on the folder, choose "Access Rights" and add "Editor" access for the "Salespeople" group.

Folder rights

Why "Editor"? Because I want them to be able to remove messages from the folder but I don't want them to be able to give access to others.

Getting the messages to the folder

We are almost done. We just need a rule to move the messages to this public folder.

Or, the alias can deliver directly to the folder.

If you remember, mail sent to "sales" goes to me because I have "sales" as an alias. To move it to the public folder, I need a filter rule. I do this in Webmail, logged in as myself. I must have already have "Editor" rights to the public folder before I can create the rule.

Filter rule

Now, new "sales" mail will end up in that "New Leads" folder. Both Ralph and I can see it, and more importantly, either of us can drag a message out of that folder to put it into one of our own folders. We can do that with Webmail, the Kerio Outlook Connector or any IMAP client.

Also note that because these are in their own folder, they don't get lost as easily as they might in the INBOX.

If Ralph drags a message out, I won't see it any longer in that folder. If I drag or delete a message, Ralph won't see it. We can both pull leads from that folder and we'll both have a shot at new leads without duplicating our efforts..

Messages in public folder

What happens if we both grab the same message at the same time? Nothing bad - one of us will succeed and the other will get an error message. There will be no harm done. In the rare case that there was any confusion server side, a "Conflicts" folder would automatically be created. As I add new salespeople, I simply add them to the "Salespeople" group and they can join us in handling new opportunities.

It is possible to screw this up using KOC "Offline" mode. Simple answer: don't use shared folders like this when off-line.

Note that I do keep a copy of the email in my INBOX. I want to make sure I know about all mail that comes to sales. I could extract that from the mail logs and could also track who moved messages from the Operations log:

[27/Mar/2012 11:43:58] {MOVE} Protocol: HTTP/WebMail,
User: [email protected], IP: 96.252.41.121, Source
Folder: [email protected]/New Leads, Destination Folder:
[email protected]/INBOX, From: "Tony Lawrence" <[email protected]>,
Subject: "Kerio quote?", Delivered: 27/Mar/2012 11:13:56, Size: 2456
 

With just a little more effort, I could produce an automatic report of who took which leads. If you are one of my Kerio clients (or would like to be), I'll be happy to assist you with this type of configuration.



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© Anthony Lawrence







Wed Mar 28 15:04:32 2012: 10803   NickBarron

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Good use of the public folder system. I have quite a few clients using groups and some dedicated accounts they have created for themselves.

This in most cases can resolve the issue completely!



Sun Apr 1 06:06:23 2012: 10811   Ralph

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Tony, you've grabbed my million-dollar deal, while I was locked in the loo, you bouwsie.



Sun Apr 1 10:31:43 2012: 10812   TonyLawrence

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I thought I fired you again, Ralph?



Sun Apr 1 18:50:44 2012: 10813   Ralph

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Not before I hacked HIDDEN FOLDERS into your Kerio. It'll be only when APLAWRENCE will be hitting the stock market that you'd realize something is go�ng on behind the scenes.

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