SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Beth Schultz
Beth Schultz is editor of No Jitter and program co-chair for Enterprise Connect. Beth has more than two decades of...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Beth Schultz | August 24, 2015 |

 
   

Email and All That Jazz

Email and All That Jazz Email doesn't just have to be about asynchronous send and receive.

Email doesn't just have to be about asynchronous send and receive.

Having been on vacation for a week, I sat down last Monday morning facing the daunting task of sifting through and responding to, as necessary, hundreds and hundreds of emails. Email overload is the price we pay for allowing ourselves time away from the office.

While the problem with email is very much on my mind of late, this is not meant to be yet one more essay opining on its evils and the inevitability of its demise. Frankly, as much drudgery as email can bring to a workday, at this point I couldn't -- and wouldn't want to -- do without it. Yes, email is a time suck and a productivity killer, but complaining about it does nobody any good.

Of much greater interest to me is figuring out how to add a modern flair to this aging mode of enterprise communications. What the heck -- we spend so much of our day in email, why not make it serve a greater purpose than asynchronous send and receive?

portable

This is the sort of thinking behind the click-to-call/conference/text integrations that cloud communications provider RingCentral has done for Microsoft Office 365 and Google for Work, as I wrote about in a recent No Jitter post. By embedding voice calling, conferencing, and messaging capabilities in email, the channel becomes a true communications hub -- even for real-time engagements.

The idea of doing more with tired old inboxes also is the impetus behind Front, a new team communications app I heard about a few weeks back. In particular, Front is about creating a collaborative experience within shared inboxes -- your catch-all accounts like contact@, sales@, and support@, Pamela Hobart, Front operations manager, told me in a recent conversation.

While your users may have gone gaga over team communications tools like HipChat or Slack, when they're talking to people outside the company they're mostly doing so via email. And that leads to inefficiencies -- haven't we all been the recipients of one too many emails in overly long, cumbersome conversation threads or had to wait while one team member unearths an email from an inbox-cum-sandbox so everybody can read and chime in? With Front, you can feed all external communications into one inbox that's searchable and sharable with a click for everybody in a team. In addition, Hobart said, Front enables a comments layer over email.

"Our goal is to turn email multiplayer," she told me.

And then there's the innovative thinking going on over at Microsoft as it looks to spiff up its ubiquitous enterprise email client, Outlook. With Outlook APIs announced in April, Microsoft is encouraging third-party developers to integrate their apps in its venerable email client in order to "build contextual experiences" for users while simplifying their everyday tasks and boosting their productivity. (Think of what RingCentral has done with communications, but on a more universal and you might say "sexier" scale.)

Along with the April Outlook API announcement came the news that Uber and Boomerang had committed to building email add-ins, and earlier this month Microsoft said Evernote, PayPal, Yelp, IFTTT and Wunderlist will or do have apps for Outlook, too. This stuff really changes the complexion of email. With the Uber add-in, for example, you can set up ride reminders for calendar events. The app will trigger a reminder on your phone, with the meeting destination already set. "Simply swipe the notification, confirm your Uber ride, and your car will be on its way!," as the Outlook team wrote in its blog post announcing the new Outlook partner add-ins.

More germane to enterprise communications in particular would be something like Boomerang, which lets you schedule emails at optimal delivery times and will send a reminder if an email doesn't receive a response. But the sky here is really the limit -- and enterprise communications managers who orchestrate the integration of everyday apps into email are going to win big points with users, I think.

Kudos to Microsoft and other innovators working at turning email into a happy space.

Follow Beth Schultz and No Jitter on Twitter and Google+!
@nojitter
@Beth_Schultz
Beth Schultz on Google+





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.