harmon.ie Launches World’s First Solution to Connect Emails to Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is taking the enterprise by storm, with over 50% of knowledge workers reporting they spend at least half their day using it, according to a new survey commissioned by harmon.ie. Teams is primarily intended for communications with colleagues inside your organization. Sure, you can invite outside guests, but for ‘outer loop’ communications, Microsoft recommends using email. But for business, you need to communicate with outside folks and colleagues. So, you use Teams for colleagues and email for outside communications? Having two parallel conversations about the same topic - which could be related to an important deal or project - doesn’t make sense, but what can you do? Now there’s a solution, because today harmon.ie has released SmartAssistant™, the world’s first product to link an organization’s internal staff conversations and external communications in Office 365, by intelligently connecting emails, documents, and conversations in Teams. Yaacov Cohen, CEO and Co-Founder of harmon.ie explains why this is so important. “Knowledge workers are busy, and it’s not practical to sync conversations in Teams with email, so discussions quickly become disconnected and people can’t find the information they need to do their jobs. Usage of Teams is quickly becoming universal in the enterprise, so we’re proud to offer the first solution to connect Teams conversations with Office 365 email, attachments, and documents, keeping efficient, productive communication easy and intuitive for knowledge workers.” Today’s SmartAssistant release includes the following new features to connect email and conversations in Teams: Drag and drop emails and attachments from Outlook directly to a Teams channel, which saves the email to the Team’s mailbox and saves the attachments to the channel’s underlying files location (in SharePoint). Seamless Outlook/Teams transitions: After dragging and dropping content to a Teams channel, harmon.ie automatically launches the Teams app to that channel, so users can continue their conversations in Teams. For the first time, harmon.ie supports “in-place” record management out of the box; when uploading emails and attachments to Teams, emails are saved in Exchange and attachments/documents are saved in SharePoint. Automatic Team alerts: harmon.ie notifies team members when new email and attachment additions have been added to a conversation by posting the update in an Adaptive Card within the conversation. Descriptive Labels: When copying emails and attachments to Teams channels, users are prompted to apply harmon.ie’s unique ‘Descriptive Labels’. These labels describe the contents of emails and documents. Descriptive Labels use existing SharePoint metadata for documents and are used to apply corresponding ‘metadata’ properties to emails in Exchange. With Descriptive Labels, related emails and attachments remain connected even though they are stored in different repositories. Descriptive Labels are also handy for quickly searching for related content. harmon.ie “Teams” Outlook tab: displays all emails and attachments copied to Teams, directly in the Outlook sidebar. Users can then:
o Display emails and attachments previously added to the conversation from harmon.ie.
o Filter the list of emails by team, channel, or descriptive labels.
o View and edit emails and attachments using their native app (e.g. Word, PowerPoint, Excel).
o Notify team members about a saved email and/or attachment. Display favorite Teams and channels directly in the harmon.ie “Favorites” view. The release also enables users to drag and drop emails, attachments, and documents onto a drop target in the harmon.ie Favorites view. Today’s announcement is the first step towards harmon.ie’s vision of simplifying the knowledge worker’s daily experience in the Office 365 Digital Workplace. Look forward to future announcements about how harmon.ie will extend SmartAssistant to exploit machine learning to augment employee decision making around information stewardship; to develop the future intelligent digital workplace assistant. Learn more at What's new in harmon.ie. To try the new harmon.ie SmartAssistant, click here.
October 2019 | Ram Tagher
AI in the workplace: The practical magic of machine learning
The introduction of AI in the workplace offers huge potential to boost productivity, efficiency, and accuracy for businesses of all sizes. And while the technology remains in its nascent stages of development, forward-thinking businesses are starting to see the potential it holds for growing their organization and boosting the productivity of their employees. 42% of executives said they believed AI in the workplace would be of “crucial importance” within two years The International Data Corporation predicts that investment in cognitive and AI systems will grow to $52 billion by 2021 PwC predicts that AI could contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 Not all AI is created equal It’s important to understand that artificial intelligence is a broad term that covers a huge field of technologies, and most are not necessarily concerned with improving how businesses work. However, machine learning, a practical application of artificial intelligence, is transforming businesses, improving the workdays of their employees, providing a better customer experience and ultimately helping to boost the bottom line. Machine learning is a form of AI in the workplace Machine learning and AI can easily be confused, with the terms being commonly used interchangeably. Machine learning, though, has to do with an application performing a specific task by making predictions or decisions based on the data it has at its disposal, based on learned behavioral patterns. Innovations in practice Loan Approvals When you give the machine learning algorithm a task, such as deciding on the outcome of a loan application, it pores through huge amounts of pre-existing data, and delivers a prediction—approval or denial—based on the results of previous loan applications. One of the most important characteristics of machine learning is that it continuously works to improve its operation as to make the optimal prediction. Customer service Plenty of businesses are turning to machine learning algorithms, under the guise of chatbots, to improve customer service—you’ll find them on websites and may even speak to a “chatbot representative” from a call center. A chatbot is often just a communications layer built on top of a machine learning engine. As such, the chatbot interacts with people to build training data sets that grow and develop their understanding, which enables them to make prediction-based replies and actions. Machine learning chatbots can take the feedback received from customers and turn that information into tangible improvements in the business. For example, based on customer interactions via a chatbot, a company might see how to redesign its website to provide a customer journey that generates a higher conversion rate. This kind of data is invaluable. Security Financial institutions constantly face the threat of fraud. With experts predicting online credit card fraud soaring to $32 billion by 2020. Banks are tackling this problem with machine learning. The technology’s ability to intelligently digest vast amounts of data—something the finance industry has plenty of—and learn how to perform tasks, has helped shape the way customers are protected. These systems can scan through reams of historic data, detect anomalies such as unusual transactions and deliver a prediction in the form of flagging it as suspicious. Which obviously improves customer experience and relieves humans of what would be an insurmountable workload – instantly. Marketing Another good example of the practical application of machine learning is how it can help inform digital marketing strategies – by taking advantage of the streams of data businesses get when customers land on their website. Based on this information, marketing teams can tailor different campaigns and digital advertising to particular demographics. Let’s take email campaigns as an example. When a prospect spends time scrolling through your webpage that sells ski wear, but leaves before purchasing, a machine learning algorithm can be applied to recommend the most appropriate offer; the one that has the highest chance of conversion, based on past experiences with ‘identical’ prospects. Machine learning enables businesses to add more customer touch points to continue the buyer journey. Transforming business AI in the workplace gets a lot of the limelight when it comes to technological innovation but it’s machine learning and its practical applications that are creating the innovations set to transform business for the better. We can already see how different industries are using the insights and predictions machine learning provides to empower employees, boost sales and enhance customer experience. Stay tuned to see how else machine learning changes the way we do business.
September 2019 | harmon.ie Team
The one email you can’t afford to keep
The digital age has significantly altered the way people interact with one another – with businesses of all shapes and sizes relying on a myriad of communication methods. For many (if not most) businesses, email remains an essential part of daily workflow and correspondence. In fact, email has been central to professional communication for decades. Regardless of industry, email is pivotal to sharing essential information both internally and externally. Despite such widespread use, however, many businesses are still largely unaware of the importance of properly managing their email systems. This applies primarily to the act of archiving emails and suitably retaining the data therein. It also applies to the process of deleting emails that are redundant, old or trivial. To operate at an optimum level, your business needs to be effectively managing email processes at all levels of operation - and following an official retention policy. Why is email management important? Information workers are swimming in email; many receiving over 100 messages per day. Now, consider what that number looks like in an office of 100, 1000, or 5000 employees. Keeping track of emails on this scale—alongside the important information held within them—is a near impossible task. While sending and receiving emails is certainly a cost-effective and efficient method of conducting business, this abundance of digital mail comes with its own unique legal, storage and sourcing problems for employees and business owners alike. Proper email management is the solution to these problems. Compliance In any business setting, it is useful to track the correspondence held within emails. This is particularly important when information within an email pertains to business processes or is sensitive in subject matter. Compliance regulations can take up a lot of time for your IT department. In different industries, countries and departments have varied regulations when it comes to retaining information, all businesses will open themselves up to the risk of litigation or penalties if they fail to follow standard policy. What’s more, if your business is involved in litigation, it’s important that data is preserved so that it can be submitted upon request. In following specific processes for storing important emails, you can save your business stress and time in producing records as and when necessary. Time management Email management also saves time in day to day processes. In effectively organizing emails, employees will be able to find what they are looking for with ease. Save precious time digging through messy inboxes and keep data within easy reach. Data recovery In the event that data is lost within mail servers, effective email management will ensure that backups are always available. This removes the risk of important information being lost forever – which means you can avoid disasters that could potentially jeopardize the very foundation of your business. But, are you deleting your emails? Whilst it’s certainly important to effectively store emails in a safe space, it’s also vital that emails are deleted when necessary. Not only does this clear up space for storage, it also makes it much easier to search for relevant documents in a timely manner. Let’s unpack these ideas a little further. The issue of storage Regardless of whether your emails are stored on-site or in the cloud – storage has a cost. All businesses will look for ways to keep costs down, which is why holding onto email data that is no longer needed is an ineffective use of IT assets. Search speed Though email servers are becoming increasingly robust, it’s always going to be quicker and easier to perform a search through a smaller dataset. This applies to both human search and computer search speed – it is faster to find information when looking at a shorter list. Valuable content should be stored elsewhere If a particular email contains key information about a project or client, is your email inbox the best place to store it? Having important information saved to a regulated and organized space is both more reliable and practical. That’s why harmon.ie captures and classifies business emails; making it easy to drag and drop files straight from your inbox into SharePoint. Security Following on from the last point, it is also unwise to store sensitive information for any longer than your business needs it. Having sensitive emails to hand can open your business to potential risks, such as compliance breaches or data leaks. Either of these instances could have a harmful impact on the reputation of your organization and lead to expensive legal issues. Keep or delete? There is certainly something to be said for deleting as much as possible when it comes to your business emails. Though it’s vital to make the distinction between data that needs to be archived and data that can be discarded, it’s never a good idea to clog up your inboxes with redundant emails that simply serve to slow down your searches and open up your business to data breach risks. At harmon.ie you can easily surface your inbox content by business topics like products, services or projects. You can discover related emails, classify content with ease and find documents in seconds, in short, our goal is to ensure the success of your email management initiative.
September 2019 | harmon.ie Team