This Week’s CCS Blog Wednesday, Sep 23 2009 

I am on the road this week, but wrote a quick blog about a new approach to e-mail task management. E-mail task management has been anemic over the years – really just a carry over from paper planners – although I think Novell GroupWise has the most flexible of the various e-mail task management features in market. The approach being used by Liaise is very interesting.

Advertisements

The New Gmail Task Management Wednesday, Dec 10 2008 

Being a fan of David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done), the task management capabilities of e-mail are a necessity for me. In the perpetual Gmail beta, task management or the to-do list has been sorely missing. Posted Monday in The Official Gmail Blog, the Gmail team shared the details of the addition of this feature. The lack of task management in Gmail has been one of the key missing features for enterprise class e-mail solution.

Gmail’s first iteration of task management is pretty “lightweight” – as described by the Gmail team in their blog. Once it is enabled (through Settings), a link is provided in the left hand column called “Tasks.” Clicking the link opens a task list window in the lower right hand corner. If you click the arrow in the upper right hand corner, it opens the list in a separate browser window as a pop-out. This is how I prefer to use it at the moment, although I am still trying things out.

Tasks are created by simply typing and hitting enter. You can indent (to create a visual sub-task), move up and down, and add details (such as a due date).

The most useful feature is the ability to convert e-mails to tasks. Select a message, go to More Actions > Add to Tasks and a task is created with the title of the e-mail. A link to the e-mail is provided below the task name that takes you to the message without closing the task window. 

Overall, this is not a bad first iteration for task management in Gmail, but it is definitely still “lightweight.”

Gmail Tasks

Beer Google? Thursday, Oct 16 2008 

I learn something new everyday…  I didn’t know that e-mailing while intoxicated was a significant problem. Well, for all of you that feel you would benefit from a little help to prevent that scenario, Google has just the thing: Mail Goggles.  

This add-on for Gmail turns on a math Q&A when you hit the send button, with varying levels of difficulty. The idea is that if you aren’t quite sober, you might have a hard time solving the math problem in under 60 seconds, and the e-mail won’t send. This prevents you from sending that flame e-mail to your boss, spouse, significant other, etc. that you might regret sending the next morning.

You can adjust the days and hours designated for the add-on to be active and the math difficulty, for those of you that are better at math than expected when inebriated.

So, enjoy that Friday and Saturday night with the comfort knowing that your Gmail will protect you from your errant e-mails while intoxicated.  

For a step-by-step walk through of the Mail Goggles experience, read Claire Suddath’s article.  

GroupWise 8 Open Beta Released Thursday, Sep 4 2008 

Novell GroupWise 8 released to open beta yesterday. As a former product manager for GroupWise, I think Novell customers will be pleased with the enhancements – otherwise, I didn’t do a very good job. But, having worked on the product, let me share some insight I have on this release that might be of interest.

While Novell doesn’t spend much marketing effort to compete with IBM and Microsoft in the enterprise messaging market, Novell does continue to develop and maintain GroupWise for their established customer base. Most market estimates place Novell’s single digit enterprise messaging market share at a distant third to IBM and Microsoft. But GroupWise is a good example of how e-mail systems once entrenched, tend to stay. 

It has taken Novell a long time to deliver on GroupWise 8.  GroupWise 7 released in August 2005. However, GroupWise customers will find some nice “delighters” in this next release, as Novell spent a significant portion of its development effort on the end user experience. 

Perhaps one the most significant differentiators in this release is that Novell can now tout a complete enterprise messaging solution from the server to the desktop for Linux. Novell has been using its own Linux desktop internally for several years. As a result, there was significant pressure on the GroupWise team to bring the GroupWise Linux client up to snuff. The Linux client in GroupWise 8 is arguably one of the richest Linux e-mail clients in the market. Unfortunately for Linux aficionados, it is not open source.  For GroupWise customers, this also means a very rich Mac client, as the two clients share the same code base. 

In addition to the Linux development, GroupWise contact management, task management and calendaring have been enhanced significantly – bringing them on par (or even slightly better, depending upon your opinion) with Exchange and Notes.  

Two major pain points for GroupWise that are not fixed in this release are the weak Outlook connector and no iPhone support. 

Overall, GroupWise customers should be happy with this next version and it should help Novell to retain customers. Now Novell needs to find a large, credible partner to help them provide a robust hosted GroupWise offering or potentially watch their customer base dwindle away as SaaS e-mail solutions become more viable for enterprises.