Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How much are your emails worth?

Back then in 2007, IDC estimated that the daily email volume was 97 billion; and based on IBM's estimation, "Every day, 15 petabytes of new information are generated. By 2010, the codified information base of the world is expected to double every 11 hours." Click here to see the report.

How much is 15 petabytes? Lets put it this way - if I have a penny for every byte of information generated, I will be richer than Carlos Slim Helu & family (the richest man in the world as of today) by 315,000 times in 1 day.

Few questions I have:
1. How much do we rely on email for communication today?
2. How many transactions are committed over Internet today via email?
3. How much intelligence can we extract from our corporate email today?

Lots of people are using email archiving solution. Email archiving solution can trim your mailbox sizes and saves you storage cost. However, it does not help you extract information out from the email you have.

One classic scenario - one of my friends is in the FMCG (fast moving consumable goods) market, and they run promotion with their suppliers like there is no tomorrow. Mind you, they are quite successful and she has got a sizable group of employees running the marketing and promotion for her.

What happens is that a large volume of transactions are being committed over emails. Some of the suppliers offer rebates or discount if her company hit a certain quota. Due to the large volume of transactions, the sales team only focuses on selling and no one seems to pay attention to the rebate policy from the suppliers.

Well, if I am meeting my quota and getting a big fat check, why do I care if the company gets its rebate? Let the boss worry about that for a minute, ok?

To complicate the matter more, these promotions are criss-crossed and multiple promotions with different suppliers can happen at the same time.

So one day my friend came back from her golfing trip and asked, "How much can we claim from each supplier?" The sales team started to have eye contacts with their palms, while the rest tried to kill the imaginary fly with dead silence.

The truth is, all the sales are committed over unstructured means - mostly emails. In order to claim back these monies from the suppliers, and to provide proof, she has to go through ten of thousands of emails going back few years to claim back the money.

It will be cool if there is a solution that could automatically classifies, filters based on keywords, and manages and preserves these golden-information, literally. If such a solution existis, all my friend needs to do is to fire up a search interface, and all the emails that matching the search criteria will be shown, the rest discarded.

Instead of looking at ten of thousands of emails, she can now look at only those that are relevant. Better yet, she can hire someone to look at those that are relevant, while she goes golfing.

What would you do if this happens to you? How much monies is hidden inside your emails?

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