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All posts tagged Exchange

Email Rage Is A Thing

Few things invoke Email Rage as much as the dreaded Reply-All Inbox Storm. You know, someone sends out a mass mail and doesn’t BCC.

Next thing you know several people are hitting reply all, swamping your email with the thread from hell. All you can do is sit there and give your best William Shatner “Khaaaaan” cry as the thread grows and fills your inbox.

Email rage - Khaaann Kirk

The Historical Record

If we step back in time, one of the most famous cases was Bedlam DL3. This was the name of a mailing list of approximately 13000 Microsoft employees that experienced this in 2004. When the Bedlam DL3 mailing list was shared to its list members a thread began with recurring requests to be removed. When the dust settled, an estimated 195Gb of 15 million emails had been sent.

Besides the storage and bandwidth, the hit to productivity, frustration and mail server load must have been breath-taking.

Microsoft are here to save you

With the rebranding of Office 365 to Microsoft 365, Redmond have added new UI and features. One of these features is step 1 of stopping the Email Rage caused by Reply-All Inbox Storms in Outlook and Exchange. This was one of the features announced at Microsoft’s Ignite 2019 conference.

The first iteration of this feature will work if several conditions are met:

email rage - steps to block

email rage - NDR notification

The Warptest POV

Email is a valuable productivity tool when used correctly and when etiquette is observed. If not productivity and collaboration are damaged, and yes, we experience frustration and email rage.

As a first iteration this is not a great solution for small or medium sized businesses, and it is a brute force solution at best. Especially when you factor the abilities in Microsoft Graph, Office Delve and the R&D into AI or Deep Learning at Redmond. To be fair to the Exchange Transport team developing this feature, they make it clear that they are receptive to feedback and want to learn from user telemetry how this feature has impact.

email rage - feedback

Where should this feature go? To avoid email rage, the following are possible improvements I would make:

Office / Exchange Admin control – make the feature customizable:

    • Not every company has 5000 email users, nor addresses in their mailing lists. Admin can set this threshold.
    • 10 reply all mails is a lot. The Admin may be aware of the threshold of management and set the thread count lower to prevent our email rage.

Roles and licenses:

    • There are roles within a company that should never be able to hit reply all on a thread, usually more junior roles. Nor should they be able to initiate a mass mailing outside their immediate teams (e.g. Developer to their R&D team and QA / Agile team).
    • The number of licenses can correlate to almost the number of internal email addresses within a percentage (to allow for certain app or general mail addresses). This should be the upper most threshold to trigger this.

Office Delve / Graph and AI: make it smart

    • These deep learning / discovery features allow the system to learn beyond role allocation who frequently sends bulk emails and may learn to create or trigger more complex rules to prevent reply all inbox storms.

This is a great start in dealing with a major annoyance and resource drain. Hopefully Microsoft will iterate this feature using some of the suggestions above. What do you think Satya?

Windows Phone for Business

Windows Phone Announcements Got Lost…

…amongst the hullabaloo of Steve Ballmer’s One Microsoft corporate realignment memo and the launch (and ramifications) of the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Repeat after me, “Opportunity!”

What Makes a Windows Phone A Business Phone?

After reading the live feed from the Nokia Lumia 1020 launch I ended up asking myself:

If I was the Product Manager for Windows Phone Business what would my feature list be?

This is what I came up with:

Windows Phone - Mindmap

Firstly, excuse the handwriting. Some of the list fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons. As I wrote this my “requirements” were refined by focusing on the use cases: –

  1. Security: out of the box this phone needs to ensure that it isn’t the weakest link in accessing company data.
  2. Active Directory: a’ la Windows 8 “login” should have the option of using the user’s Windows Account login and password. Once you’re in the phone is connected to the company Active Directory.
  3. Remote Desktop: for the serious road warrior the phone has to have built in VPN and Remote Desktop / Remote Control.
  4. Exchange: this can’t just be OWA. Exchange needs to be a robust app with little in the way of functional compromise. The People and Calendar Live Tiles should reflect connection to the user’s Exchange account.
  5. Real Time / Social: Skype should be the Skype Business version with video conference calling and Yammer. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter should be freely available for the user.
  6. Apps: Should the user be able to download any Apps to their business phone? This should be an option for Company CIO’s to choose as policy but more important the company should be able to manage their own in-house App Store with preferred Apps available to enhance employee productivity on the phone.
  7. SharePoint: If you have a Windows Phone (even 7) you have Office and this already allows connectivity to SharePoint.
  8. CRM: Think business, think Dynamics. So yes, Dynamics integration with the People Live Tile, Exchange and Calendar or an App that ties it all together on the phone.
  9. Print to any Company / WiFi printer: self-explanatory.

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The Warptest POV

The biggest challenge is going to be providing businesses with ROI for choosing Windows Phone but more specifically ensuring that just because the Phone is connected to the Company domain that the user can still maintain and access their personal profile without compromise. What’s best practice here? I wrangled with the idea, “It’s Windows (Phone) so just like on a PC make it easy to switch users and thus personal / corporate profile, data and Apps”. I’m still conflicted about the best way to do this; case in point:

The Windows Phone update that will provide these features will contain features that are not business exclusive too. Some users are not going to want the bloat of the business features so Microsoft pay attention here, make the update granular enough to allow existing users to select whether to add the business features or not.

I’ll say it one more time for the boffins at Redmond. This is a huge opportunity to seize a market share not fought over since the advent of Blackberry as the business phone.

Keep listening to your business users about what they need from their Smartphones and make it happen.

What features would make you choose Windows Phone over the competition for your business?