Help is on the way

In the best-case scenario, technology will provide relief from e-mail overload before it becomes a real danger. Several companies have developed tools that automate, as much as possible, the process of reading and classifying e-mail messages.

MDY Advanced Technologies Inc., Fair Lawn, N.J., one of the oldest records management companies, offers FileSurf, which creates a structured repository into which incoming e-mail messages are deposited. FileSurf automatically collects the required information from the e-mail messages and puts it into an electronic e-mail profile template. Once profiled, the messages are managed according to the security and retention policies set by the agency.

"Our aim is to provide a simple and easy way to classify e-mails that can be integrated with an organization's current redemption policies," said Galina Datskovsky, MDY's chief executive officer. "We feel that the important thing is that FileSurf should be able to deal now with all the forms of e-mail that are currently envisioned, be they with attachments, from Web-based forms or mixed-media messaging."

Another product uses cutting-edge technologies for its e-mail management software. EchoMail Inc., based in Cambridge, Mass., uses artificial intelligence as the basis of a technology it calls "e-mail pattern analysis" that identifies the tone and meaning of e-mail messages and then automatically analyzes, classifies and monitors all inbound and outbound e-mail messages. It can also mine and query the e-mail data to generate targeted mailing lists.

The EchoMail solution suite is one of the e-mail management packages that has been investigated for use in Congress and is currently being tested in Senate offices.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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