AfterMail, Email & KM
Yesterday I was treated to being shown v.Next of AfterMail … all I have to say is WOW … they are doing some really amazing work.
For those who don’t know what AfterMail is: it is the hottest contender in the email archiving and compliance space right now. They also happen to be a New Zealand company :)
“AfterMail is a next generation email management solution that addresses current email archiving and compliance challenges, while also providing a forward looking platform for email enabling line of business applications.
AfterMail transforms email into a corporate asset, unlocking the valuable information contained within email, with minimal impact to users and infrastructure.”
The interesting part of all of this to me personally is the way the email is being treated as knowledge these days. Organisations are starting to embrace the fact that they have a lot if not the majority of their IP and knowledge tied up in email…. finally!
However, it is one thing to archive email and keep it forever… it is another thing entirely to use the knowledge that is buried deep in it as a valuable corporate asset.
AfterMail starts to allow this. Not only does it mean that every email is archived but it allows other systems to integrate with it via web services and XML. Allowing easy access to this information store.
The problem is with email right now is it is treated as a second rate citizen when being thought of as a document. Many document management systems don’t integrate with email tools to allow it to be tagged and recorded as a record/document easily enough.
The other problems is people. People are often lazy and don’t take the time to tag and record information into their corporate repositories. Often because the systems are slow, painful, unhelpful etc…
In an ideal situation would be to allow users to richly tag email (& automatically where possible). This tagging would build on the Out of the Box metadata you already get with email like To, From, Subject etc…
The key point here is that this categorisation regime must be the standard corporate one. The system must treat email as any other bit of information. This must happen as the user sends an email … or receives it. It must happen in a manner that makes it dead easy for people… or they won’t do it.
Of course AfterMail are fully aware of all this … and are working on features to help with this.
While I was with them I told them a wee story on how their technology is being used at a customer I recently visited. This blew my mind … users ahy … they find the most amazing ways of doing things! Here goes:
Some users in the organisation send themselves an email with document(s) attached so that they:
a) Can find the email again easily using the AfterMail system and not bother keeping the email (standard feature)
b) (get this) not bother putting the email or document in their corporate document management system, because they find it to hard.
I was also treated to a ride on their Segway … so much fun!