Posted on February 16, 2014 at 8:14 pm
By Ludre Stevens – YuDoGlobal, CEO
While the first email system actually began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1965, email as we know it today — albeit with less bells and whistles – began in 1972. Forty years and 3.146 billion email accounts (and growing) later email still functions relatively the same. What has changed is how email is used. What began as a simple communication tool is now used to coordinate schedules, collaborate on projects, and manage and track tasks—business activities that email programs alone are not designed to manage. The result is a host of problems for the business world.
At any given time your business email inbox is full of a number of activities you’re involved in, or need to know about. These activities are scattered throughout your inbox (and the inboxes of other participants) making them easy to overlook, hard to manage and almost impossible to audit. Some emails may require critical actions on your part, while others include tasks that are dependent on someone else moving them forward. Some of the activities you own, others you are just a participant. According to Forrester Research, up to 60% of all processes in an organization are semi-structured, human driven processes.
Even with all its drawbacks, email is still the preferred tool for managing and coordinating activities and tasks, since it’s readily available, user controlled and supports back and forth human communication and coordination. Unfortunately, relying on standard productivity tools (e.g. Microsoft Office) and email (e.g. Microsoft Outlook) to manage these processes is a big mistake for businesses. No matter how hard you try, these standard tools do not capture, track and monitor activities and tasks.
Because of email overload business are dealing with instances of missed deadlines, incomplete follow-ups, lost opportunities, lack of tracking and compliance reporting, and general feelings of email overload among employees. These issues have prompted companies to institute different approaches and solutions including replacing email with custom box solutions, social platform products, and gimmick applications.
Response Management Solutions Tend to Come Up Short
Primarily used for handling client/customer service requests, Response Management Solutions employ a system of business rules to organize incoming email requests, assign necessary actions to the requests, and even track the responses. On the surface this seems effective, and in many instances it is. Unfortunately, as soon as a request varies from the set of business rules, human intervention becomes necessary. This usually initiates a series of email requests outside the response management system where they can no longer be tracked and logged.
In addition, most of these systems are designed to support external service requests. This means when an email request comes from inside the company—e.g. “John, this customer had a problem with her account. Can you fix and send out an apology letter.”— it becomes a human driven activity and has to be tracked and managed outside the system. As you can see, there are a variety of instances where a response management system comes up short in reducing a company’s reliance on email.
Key is to Manage Activities Right From Your Inbox
There are workflow solutions, such as YuDoMail, that work alongside existing email systems to automatically capture, prioritize and track action items buried in email. Rather than write complex business rules, a technology such as YuDoMail can be integrated to parse and receive requests from other enterprise systems, such as CRM, eCommerce and customer support systems. This is enables all your unstructured, human-driven processes, from both email or exceptions from other applications, are managed in one place—YuDoMail. Another benefit of YuDoMail is it offers the level of task visibility and reporting needed by most companies.
Stay tuned for part 2 and a deeper dive into the other approaches companies are using to alleviate their issues with email and to learn more about what the future holds for email management.