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What's the status? Tech brings project filing mentality to email

Forget to carbon copy someone on the project team with a relevant email? Predictive filing software from Recommind has your back.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

For now, at least, email remains one of the most widely methods of business collaboration and communication -- for sharing business intelligence in its truest form. But, oh, the pain of keeping it organized over time and over multiple projects. Addition of search tools and folders, and features such as discussion threads that keep related topics together have helped a great deal with organization -- but that's really only pertinent for your individual inbox.

Enter Recommind's Decisiv Email, an add-on for Microsoft Outlook that manages messages from a collaborative perspective.

Decisiv Email offers more than a carbon-copy of what's going on, it works behind-the-scenes to analyze and tag messages -- and then to file them and archive them appropriately. After making an assessment about the content, the software either files that message in a folder that it believes relevant on its own or it prompts the sender or recipient to place it in a folder. It doesn't create duplicate copies of the messages, which helps reduce mail storage and archiving costs. The folders created by Decisiv are collaborative. That is, they can be seen by the members of teams or projects who are assigned access.

That's what makes Decisiv email different from the rules that you can add to your individual email system. Those rules are focused mainly on the individual, while Decisiv's predictive abilities work across all the members of the group -- so that you can see all the related correspondence (related for example to a specific customer) regardless of whether or not you were copied on the email.

How automatic that tagging process winds up being is up to your individual organization: It can happen seamlessly or you can set the system to require approval of the process.

The goal: to make sure that critical emails are accessible to all important personnel, mainly for operational purposes but also useful from a compliance standpoint.

Here's the management interface for the desktop version of the application:

Derek Schueren, general manager of the information access division for Recommind, said the idea behind Decisiv Email is to help make it simpler for organizations to find and share institutional knowledge.

So, for example, if someone is on vacation and his or her colleague has to pick up the ball on a customer service issue or a sales proposal, it is easier to see the context and information behind what's go on. Rather than starting at square zero, the idea is that someone can quickly see what progress has been made and pick up from that point. Essentially, you are crowdsourcing (or at least crowdstoring) the information.

The catch is, of course, that you have to use Outlook for the categorization to happen. Recommind is working on tablet and smartphone integration.

What about privacy, you ask? A tool like Decisiv Email will definitely make you think twice about what you write in an email or about what you decide to exclude. "Everything that you send in corporate email will be available for people to see if it is relevant for the business," Schueren said.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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