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Focus On Your Work Not Your Inbox

Posted by EddiePrentice on August 20, 2014

We waste a lot of time at work ...

36 – the number of times the average employee checks their email in an hour

9 – the hours per week employees spend looking for information

304 – the number of emails we receive weekly on average

Even the most popular collaboration products like email and social networks overwhelm users with a flood of information. They also ...

  • do little to help prioritizing content
  • make it difficult to find information
  • do not seamlessly integrate with other collaboration tools or mobile devices

What if you could focus on your work not your inbox?

IBM has come up with a solution called Mail Next and I have to say that it looks pretty impressive; dare I say it is a game-changer?


Mail Next solves a pervasive problem: email overload. The software transitions away from the traditional email inbox towards a simplified environment that allows the user to:

  • focus on top priorities
  • quickly find and share content
  • take control of action items.

Consider your current inbox: a never ending cascade of information and requests, much of which may not be relevant to you.

Kramer Reeves, Director of Messaging and Collaboration Solutions at IBM  calls it “personal email debt.” This is the weight that accumulates as people use email to assign each other tasks - tasks we lose amid the wave of newsletters, announcements, notifications and other random stuff that washes into our inboxes.

IBM Mail Next, described as a “radical email interface rethink”, will be launched towards the end of the year as part of the IBM SmartCloud social business platform.

The vision for IBM Mail Next is simple: deliver a powerful cloud-based experience optimized for web and mobile that allows users to focus on top priorities, find and share content, and take control of action items. Kramer promises you’ll be able to “focus on work, not your inbox."

 “For 20 years,” Kramer told CMSWire's Dom Nicastro, “email has essentially remained the same: communication that arrives in chronological order that users must manually prioritize, preventing productive work from occurring.” By throwing out traditional notions of email and focusing on users’ needs, the IBM Mail Next team focused on how we work, rather than how we manage email.

Some highlights of IBM Mail Next’s capabilities include:

1. Get a quick view of your day - The Day At A Glance, Upcoming Meeting, and Calendar bar features give you a quick overview of your day, and a more detailed view of what you have coming up next.


2. Tune out the noise - Copied on a thread that has little (or nothing) to do with you? Mute it. (you can bring it back later, if you feel like it.)

3. Preview all data associated with a colleague - Not all important interactions take place in email. See the meetings, chats, people, documents and other data that you and a colleague have in common.


4. See what needs doing - Can’t remember what you said you’d take care of? Can’t remember what you assigned to others? Track mail-based actions in one screen, with the most pressing priorities listed first. Easily see who owes you a response and to whom you owe responses.


5. Go mobile. Or not. Whatever, it’s up to you - IBM Mail Next is optimized for mobile and web, and delivered in the cloud. Work where and how you want to work, without tying yourself to a particular device, platform or browser.

What next?

The IBM Mail Next team is working through ideas for new capabilities and enhancements. When the time comes it will be launched first in IBM SmartCloud. This is a hugely exciting evolution in how we all work. I will be posting regular updates IBM Mail Next. To keep in touch follow my posts on Twitter.

FREE Seminar: Globocol are running a session on how to improve your productivity by reducing your reliance on email. Leeds Business Week, Wednesday 15 October 2014. SEE MORE >>