It is not often that there are technologies that make you rethink your current methods of how you work and the tasks that you do constantly. You wish that the way you work would be more productive and less laborious in keeping track of the small stuff and not missing the big stuff. Many of us spend exorbitant amounts of time in personal productivity and communications tools like email and instant messaging coordinating calendars, tasks and activities that are essential to our job. Everything from sending requests for meetings, make assignments, set priorities both internally and to others like clients and partners is no easy tasks and many in business just avoid interactions as the more they communicate the more that comes back to them to do.
Today’s resolution to this issue is only your time and the manual copy and paste from your emails in Microsoft Outlook to the calendar, tasks and into other systems. Most workers and management have become desensitized and just keep doing the manual tasks of keeping track of business interactions. And we all end up missing something along the way. And no, waiting for the next version of Microsoft Outlook to address this issue is like wishing for the tooth fairy to give you money under your pillow for every headache you have from the overload of interactions. How do you efficiently interact and try to keep track of communications to these people and what you requested and what you responded. There has to be a better solution to interact across business and simplify your life.
Well at Demo 09 a round of new companies and technologies launched their presence into the market. One such company, Liaise formally launched their product to market that helps individuals and business dramatically increase individual productivity but most importantly get back the time they need to be effective in their role and responsibility. What Liaise does is to capture your regular interactions through email and other forms of communications in the near future and dynamically examine the text for specific guidance on what you need to be done or scheduled. In what Liaise calls KeyPoint Intelligence is to prompt you within the text of the email for what needs to be done. Most interesting is that they then help you manage these tasks, activities, schedules in a central location on your desktop so that you can ensure you do not miss anything and can collaborate further within context to their completion. As you make choices on words and what they mean the technology learns what to do the next time.
It is almost too good to be true. As a set of non-intrusive desktop productivity tools and add-in to Microsoft Outlook there is no need to install on the server or get your IT organization involved to get started. Since it is designed to make an individual productive it does not require anyone else to having it start to provide value to you.
The company has addressed one of the most challenging tasks for organizations which is to find methods to increase productivity without significant disruption to the existing systems and means that business operates today. Liaise is addressing this to start with Microsoft Outlook but will expand into integrating with Instant Messaging and other collaboration systems that dominate business across the world. If you have not seen it in action it is worth seeing how it works on their website with the software demonstration. Of course in a tough competition of dozens of new products for 2009, their CEO mastered a demo in less than 10 minutes and walked away with first place prize at Demo and a half million dollars of free advertising to help their efforts. The product which is in beta now and I am still hoping to test it myself sometime soon will become available by year end. There is a silver lining to all of this painful email after all and if it could go back and automatically see what I missed in the last three months that would be excellent.
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Mark Smith - CEO & EVP Research