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TMTools
The Issues

The Time Matters® email management system does many things very well, including managing emails in both a matter-centric and contact-centric database, where everyone can view all the emails regarding a particular contact or matter, in addition to documents, phone calls, notes, etc., and far exceeds the leading email programs in this regard. There can be too much of a good thing, however. Saving Time Matters email with attachments can be problematic if the volume is great, and/or the size of the attachments is large.

The widely-accepted best practice is to TMSave all Time Matters email attachments (both incoming and outgoing), and then delete the attachments, to keep the attachment table from growing out of control. A large number of attachments increases the size of the database, much more so than data records, which slows response time and increases the possibility of data corruption caused by network or hardware problems.

In the real world, attachments are rarely TMSaved because users are busy putting out the latest "fire." Even if users were trained today to TMSave attachments properly in the future, it would take a substantial amount of time to TMSave all of the existing email attachments that most firms have accumulated. This is particularly true of sent emails, from which users rarely if ever go back and strip off attachments, that are often duplicates of the documents already saved to disk elsewhere.

 
The Solution

TMTools is an application that runs separately from Time Matters to automate the time-consuming and expensive process of cleaning up a firm's Time Matters email attachments, and to avoid the ultimately unsuccessful attempts to get users to TMSave their attachments, which leads to unhappy users and less than optimal use of the system.

TMTools is an application that operates on your Time Matters Enterprise database (either SQL or MSDE) version 6 or later. It is not available for Professional. TMTools:

  • TMSaves each attachment in every Time Matters email in the Email List as a Time Matters document record
  • Saves each attachment to a path and filename according to a formula you specify, or simply uses your existing Time Matters document form auto-naming formula.
  • Creates a specified relationship between the email record and the saved attachments (document records), so that you can easily cross-reference each email to the saved attachment (document record), and cross-reference each saved attachment (document record) to the email to which it was attached.
  • Deletes each email attachment after it is saved as a Time Matters document record, reducing the size of the Time Matters database.
  • Retains the attachment flag so that you can view the emails with attachments from various email lists.
  • Empties the attachment table to delete any remaining attachments that are not linked to an email record, and gives you the option of saving these files as Time Matters document records as well.
  • Can be scoped to process all emails, just certain staff's emails, emails related to just certain contacts or matters, just attachments with certain file extensions, just certain email date ranges, and so on.
 
Implementation

Implementation, including configuration and training, are performed remotely by a TMTools CIC. We order the Time Matters Data Link license for you, configure TMTools for your needs, analyze your email attachments, show you how to run the program on a regular basis. To assist in this analysis, TMTools reports:

  • The number of Time Matters email attachments that meet the scope you select.
  • The number of files that were saved to disk.
  • The number of Time Matters document records that were created.
  • The number of attachments remaining in the Time Matters database, with the option to export them to a file path for later review, and gives you the option of deleting any remaining attachment records.
  • Once installed, you can run the TMTools application as often as you want to TMSave and delete attachments from emails that have not been processed. Currently, TMTools runs as an application. In the future, we expect to release a version that runs as a service, i.e., it will automatically TMSave all email attachments, and then delete them, on a periodic basis.
 
Cost

The cost for the TMTools license and one hour of installation, configuration, and training services is $350 for the first user and $50 for each additional user.

TMTools is licensed for a specific Time Matters site, for Time Matters Enterprise (either SQL or MSDE) version 6 or later. The cost is based on the number of Time Matters user licenses, as shown in the Time Matters Help > About screen, regardless of how many actually use TMTools. Additional TMTools licenses must be purchased if additional Time Matters user licenses are added after the initial installation. Otherwise, TMTools will not function.

In addition, the licensee must have a Time Matters Datalink license for versions earlier than Time Matters 9. The Datalink is free. Contact Time Matters to receive the downloadable link.

Additional consulting services as well as email attachment and Microsoft SQL consulting are available.  

There will be an additional charge for a future edition of TMTools that runs as a service, and for any future feature enhancements, including versions of TMTools that work with future Time Matters versions.

 
Return on Investment

In the past, we have provided these services to our clients on an hourly basis, and have had to reinvent the wheel each time, resulting in fees of thousands of dollars, both initially, and then again each time the attachments needed cleaning up. Our goal with TMTools is to repurpose the consulting services, so that you don't have to engage our services each time you want to clean up your email.

Compare the one-time cost of TMTools cost with the internal cost of TMSaving email attachments manually, the out-of-pocket cost of database repair if such becomes necessary, the cost of user frustration, and the cost of any lost data. If each attorney sends and receives 10 emails per day with attachments, and spends just one minute on average to TMSave and delete each attachment (or sends/receives five emails with attachments and spends two minutes on each one), and would otherwise bill that time at $150 per hour, the total cost is:

(10 emails x 1 minute x 250 work days per year)       x    $150 per hour = $6,249 per year 
                          60 minutes 

Using the same calculations, a firm with five attorneys and five support staff (assuming their internal rate is $30 per hour) will spend $31,245 per year in time to TMSave and delete their attachments. Use the formula above to calculate the value of the time your firm would spend to properly process email. If it takes more or less time for your attorneys to TMSave and delete, or your hourly rate is different, use your own figures.

The bottom line is that very few attorneys and staff will take the time to TMSave both their sent and received email attachments. The number and size of saved email will continue to grow over time, because email use has been increasing exponentially. The purchase of TMTools will result in a great return on investment.

 
Installation

We will coordinate a time with you and the Time Matters Sales Department to activate the Time Matters Data Link, and to install and activate TMTools, via a high-speed Internet connection. TMTools can be installed on any computer on your network. We recommend it be installed on the computer of the person who will run it at regular intervals for easy access. Your purchase of TMTools includes one hour of on-line installation, configuration, and orientation.

Your purchase of TMTools includes one hour of on-line installation, configuration, and orientation. Make a backup of your Time Matters data before the on-line session with us. Just as with any data manipulation process, making a backup before making any changes to the Time Matters database is highly recommended. Some TMTools functions, e.g., deleting email attachments and purging the attachment table are irreversible operations and cannot be recovered from if you later change your mind unless you can restore from a backup.

 
Technical Requirements

Your site must meet the following technical requirements: 

  • Time Matters Enterprise (MSDE or full SQL) v. 6 or higher.
  • Windows .Net 1.1 or higher (check via Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs) on the computer on which TMTools is installed.
  • Logged in user must have Power User or greater rights on the computer on which TMTools is installed.
  • High-speed (DSL, cable, or faster) Internet connection.
 

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