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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Email, Knowledge/Content Management - Email as a Future Application Interface

James Robertson's excellent Column Two blog pointed me to an interesting article by Seth Gottlieb - Email and Content Management which provides some practical suggestions about how to move from email based content management towards better mechanisms.

While I agree with Seth's main contention that email, especially email with attachments, makes content management much harder, I actually think that Seth is swimming against a very, very strong current and is probably going to get sucked into the ocean shortly. He may know this since he points us to another article that explains The Good In Email (or Why Email Is Still The Most Adopted Collaboration Tool).

And, I personally believe that email is going to become more and more the "front end" of many of our applications. Many of the systems we build these days are workflow applications that often email the people involved to notify them or even allow them to respond. This is our way to "get in front of the user." And it works extremely well. And most every application is starting to do this. As we begin to get more sophisticated about workflow, we are going to see this increase.

So, while I would love to believe that much of the current communication that occurs through email will be migrated to other kinds of vehicles with more appropriate persistence and searchability characteristics (e.g., wikis), I think that most users are not heading that direction today and what is a more likely trend is to have email become more integrated so that it acts seamlessly with our CM/KM solutions.

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