Understanding Group Activity email and file sharing

Some recent questions raise the interesting problem of how do we measure email activity at group level (and group activity in general).

Groups inside Google are phenomenally interesting and at GAT we spend quite a bit of time thinking about them. At a simple level, a group can act as an email alias for a function, ‘sales@generalaudittool.com’.  A group can also form a platform for email collaboration, ‘new-ideas@generalaudittool.com’. It can also form the basis of a mini-community, ‘development@generalaudittool.com’, where the group name can be used as the basis for sharing documents, emails, access rights, etc.

In reality, any group once established, tends to function to varying degrees in all three roles inside the organization. In addition, you have the situation that members of one group are often members of other groups. Looking at the output of the members, you can never tell if the mail is group related.

However, with GAT+Email you can see some important details

1) How busy, in general, members of that group have been.

Under the ‘Users’ audit, select the email tab, the search for the group you are interested in, then, clicking on ‘show graph’ you can see the detailed internal and external email loads for members of that group.

Understanding Group Activity email and file sharing


2) The amount of email sent specifically to any Group (where the group is viewed as a collection of members), which domain and which user it came from (internal or external).

Here we use GAT+Email and select the email audit. Once in the email audit we search for the group we are interested in. This can be done two ways, firstly we can just reference the Group and this will return all emails for which members of the group were involved

Or we can make the group address the subject of a specific search, (the results show only the email sent specifically to the group address).

Here we can see in the table everyone inside and outside the organization involved in sending email to that group address and the volume of email involved. Domain or individual can be turned on or off to see the values for each category more clearly.

In addition, you can search for all the emails sent ‘from’ a particular group address and then using the ‘Recent Filters’ tab combine the two searches to produce a combined set of results. Again these can be examined in the Sender/Receiver table.

A really powerful exercise is to limit the searches to a date range, then look at the ‘Domain Connections’ table for the results. At the top of the table select ‘Show communication graph’.

See this post. The graph shows newest relationships on the right, oldest on the left. Domains sending to us on the top, domains we send to on the bottom. In between have emails in both directions, depending on the balance.

3) To what degree that group is directly involved in document sharing and collaboration

In this case, we go to the ‘Group’ audit on the homepage.

In this audit we can search for a group of interest and from there we can see details like the total of the overall percentage of docs created by members of this group, the percentage of shared in documents shared to its members and the percentage of shared out docs, shared out by its members.

In addition, you can see details like the number of group documents (those shared), the number shared explicitly to the group address and the numbers shared by members of the group to one another. This helps you understand if the Group is being used for Collaboration.