WO2003098515A1 - Method and a system for email evaluation - Google Patents

Method and a system for email evaluation Download PDF

Info

Publication number
WO2003098515A1
WO2003098515A1 PCT/NO2003/000160 NO0300160W WO03098515A1 WO 2003098515 A1 WO2003098515 A1 WO 2003098515A1 NO 0300160 W NO0300160 W NO 0300160W WO 03098515 A1 WO03098515 A1 WO 03098515A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
email
server
mail
network
feedback
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/NO2003/000160
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Dan Ove Skaalerud
Nils Ivar Skaalerud
Original Assignee
Nextidea As
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US38030702P priority Critical
Priority to US60/380,307 priority
Application filed by Nextidea As filed Critical Nextidea As
Publication of WO2003098515A1 publication Critical patent/WO2003098515A1/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L51/00Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages
    • H04L51/34Arrangements for user-to-user messaging in packet-switching networks, e.g. e-mail or instant messages with provisions for tracking the progress of a message
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/10Office automation, e.g. computer aided management of electronic mail or groupware; Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings or time accounting
    • G06Q10/107Computer aided management of electronic mail

Abstract

A system and a method for email monitoring in a computer network environment are described. The system comprises a plurality of clients having the ability to interact with the network, an email server, a second server interacting with the email server and the plurality of clients, wherein the second server providing email reports at predetermined intervals to email senders at the clients containing email recipient evaluation. A network server and a method for operating a network server are also described. The network server includes a server mechanism for receiving user email feedback data sent from a user as a result of user evaluation of received email at said user, and for storing the email feedback data at the server, a server processing mechanism processing said feedback data and generating email feedback reports for each email sender in said network, and a server transmitting mechanism transmitting said email reports to the email senders in the network at predetermined intervals.

Description

Method and a system for email evaluation

INTRODUCTION

The present invention concerns e-mail and a method and system for reducing costs and risks including improving individual and organizational productivity and employee/user satisfaction with e-mail. Specifically the invention concerns a system and a method for email monitoring in a computer network environment. Network server and a method of operating a network server are also described.

BACKGROUND Email is probably the most popular application of computer technology ever developed. However, as with many things - success and popularity often leads to abuse and ultimately possible failure. In many organizations e-mail problems include individual and organizational productivity, business process management challenges, employee stress, overload and satisfaction challenges and business relationship-, legal-, security- and virus risk challenges. Coupled with the fact that e-mail in many organizations has become the single process that uses the most of employee's time, this area must be addressed. Most organizations do not realize the importance, nor the costs or risks associated with e-mail, nor do they seek to optimize or secure this costly process. The result is lost productivity, lost employee satisfaction and excessive costs and risks. Add to that infrastructure, storage, telecom and incidental business risks and costs.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect the invention provides a system for email monitoring in a computer network environment, the system comprising: a plurality of clients having the ability to interact with the network, an email server and a second server interacting with the email server and the plurality of clients. The second server provides email reports at predetermined intervals to email senders at the clients containing email recipient evaluation.

The system may also include an email feedback mechanism in the email program toolbar. The email feedback mechanism may be represented as toolbar buttons representing administrator or server configurable data-elements and e-mail report elements. In a further embodiment data on e-mail sender name, e-mail header and e-mail body along with date and time sent and which toolbar button was selected is stored by a client mechanism in a data file on the client. The client mechanism transmits said data file to the second server at predetermined intervals or when the client is connected to the network. The data may be encrypted the client mechanism before transmitted to the second server. In an even further embodiment the system comprises a second server calculating mechanism calculating numerical values based upon the selected email feedback buttons.

The email feedback reports may be sent to the clients as email. The reports may include recipient ratings in graphical or numerical format based on the calculated numerical values presenting simple and understandable information on email usage behaviour for each client in the network displayed on a display device on the client. The network may e.g. be a Local Area Network (LAN), a Wide Area Network (WAN) or Internet.

In a second aspect the invention concerns a method for email monitoring in a computer network environment comprising an email server and a plurality of clients interacting with the network, the method comprising: a second server interacting with the email server and the plurality of clients, providing email sender reports at predetermined intervals to email senders at the clients containing email recipient evaluation.

Email feedback may be performed by selecting toolbar email feedback buttons in the email program toolbar, the email feedback toolbar buttons representing administrator or server configurable data-elements and e-mail report elements. When a toolbar email feedback button is selected, data on e-mail sender name, e-mail header and e-mail body along with date and time sent and which button was selected is stored in a data file on the email client. The second server may in a further embodiment calculate individual numerical value data for each email sender based upon what feedback button on the email feedback toolbar the e-mail recipients have selected after having received an e-mail from an e-mail sender. The second server may be programmed to read data from the second server database at predetermined intervals and generate e-mail statistics reports which may be sent as email to the clients in the network.

In a third aspect of the invention a network server is provided comprising a server mechanism for receiving user email feedback data sent from a user as a result of user evaluation of received email at said user, and for storing the email feedback data at the server; a server processing mechanism processing said feedback data and generating email feedback reports for each email sender in said network; and a server transmitting mechanism transmitting said email reports to the email senders in the network at predetermined intervals.

In a forth aspect the invention provides a method of operating a network server, the method comprising: upon receipt of user email feedback data sent from a user as a result of user evaluation of received email at said user, storing the email feedback data at the server; processing said feedback data generating email feedback reports for each email sender in said network; and at predetermined intervals transmitting said email reports to the email senders in the network.

The invention provides means for reducing costs, risks and user satisfaction with e-mail usage. Unless e-mail users are provided with e-mail policies, best practices, training and supporting tools, they will continue to send e-mail at the same rate, or at an increasing rate, with the same quality and lack of principals and standards as before. The supporting tools are the system applied for patent for. With this tool in- stalled, the e-mail recipient has a (new) toolbar within the e-mail application. The toolbar offers e-mail recipients a choice of buttons that represent the feedback the recipient wants to give to the sender. The button clicked is communicated to-, and stored centrally together with other e-mail information. This information is consolidated on the server side and the server will, at a configurable interval, send re- ports to e-mail senders containing information about how recipients view sender's e-mails, maybe with or without relevance to established e-mail policies and best practices. The report may or may not disclose what specific recipients have rated and what rating they gave. Reports generated by the system may be in graphical or numerical formats and may contain statistical, historical or other information. The report may or may not include the e-mail sender ratings compared to the average in a given organizational or organizational unit. By giving e-mail senders feedback, it is more likely that senders will improve e-mail usage according to e-mail policies, best practices or other norms, without impacting personal relationships by having recipients communicating directly to the sender.

The software technology in the present invention is a vehicle for lasting behavioural change facilitated by e-mail. The technology enables users to better understand how the organization is using and abusing e-mail and the effect the invented software solution, along with appropriate policies, best practices and training has on users and the organization is that all users involved gets more conscious on following the company e-mail policies and best practices to avoid getting low scores from other employees and managers. As e-mail senders periodically will get reports on where he/she is compared to organizational averages and thus get input on individual improvement areas on using e-mail according to company standards, the organization as a whole is more likely to improve the overall use of e-mail.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the following drawings in which:

FIG. 1 shows a high-level overview of an apparatus embodying the invention. The apparatus includes client-side and server-side software, which communicates with each other by sending optionally encrypted information on a TCP/IP based network. 3rd party software will be used for writing, reading, sending, distri- buting and receiving e-mail and is not a part of this invention; FIG. 2 is a closer view of the software structure;

FIG. 3 shows the functional design of a toolbar, which will be used as user interface for one-click functions. The toolbar can consist of anything from one to n buttons and the buttons meaning, function and label is configurable but transpar- ent to the invention;

FIG. 4 is a screen print of an example of a sample email report according to an embodiment of the invention; and FIG. 5 is an alternative embodiment of the invention where the clients and servers in the network in Figure 1 communicate by sending files that are optionally encrypted as attachments in regular email.

s DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The following detailed description begins with an overview of the invention and then describes in detail how the invention is implemented in apparatus to locate expertise on an e-mail system.

ιo A second server (Junglemap Server in Figure 1 ) must be able to send mail to an e-mail server 104. The Junglemap server 101 has a permanent connection to the network. The client 103 either has a permanent connection to the network, or the user of the clients connects to the network for sending/receiving e-mail to/from the mail server 104. The clients may also in another embodiment be able to send e- i5 mail to the server 101. The network is either a Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN) such as the Internet. This is shown in Figure 1.

The software components on the client 103 in Figure 1 are a 3rd party mail client 202 and a plug-in 203 provided by Junglemap for the installed mail client (Fig-

20 ure 3). On installation of the plug-in 203, registration information is sent to the server. This registration information contains the user's e-mail address and his/her full name. The server 101 will register the user and send configuration information back to the client. This configuration information is information to the plug-in 301 on what toolbar buttons to expose to the user. All information sent this way may be

25 optionally encrypted and in an embodiment sent as e-mail attachments 502 as shown in Figure 5. The plug-in 203 will provide the user with one or more toolbars like 301, depending on parameters set on the server 101 and this/those toolbars 301 are displayed in the users e-mail client. When the user clicks on a toolbar button 302, information on e-mail sender name, e-mail header and e-mail body along

30 with date and time sent, along with what button was clicked, is stored in the local data file controlled by the plug-in 203. The toolbar buttons 302 (which button was clicked) represents administrator or server configurable 101 data-elements and e-mail report elements 402 and may include but is not limited to: Too many/too few recipients, too many/too few CC'ed recipients, too long/too short e-mail subject, poor/excellent e-mail subject defini- tion, too long/too short e-mail body, political content, private content, defamatory content, sexual harassment content, copyright infringement content, racist content, legally risky content, stressful content, emotional content, E-mail cost, poor/excellent overall e-mail quality, irrelevant e-mail, poor/excellent e-mail body structure, poor/excellent e-mail language, poor/excellent e-mail style and/or form, lack of/ex- cellent e-mail objective/goals definition, poor/excellent leadership, poor/excellent e-mail priority/importance definition.

The plug-in 203 will - by intervals and when connected to the network - optionally encrypt this local data file and send it to the server.

When information is sent to the server 101, the server 101 immediately parses the information received and responds to this information by returning new information directly to the client, interacts with the database, sends e-mail to the user and/or other forms of interaction.

The software 201 (Figure 2) on the server 101 may in an alternative embodiment be a service that will check for e-mails 501 sent by Junglemap clients 103 at centrally 101 configured intervals. When e-mail 501 is received, the attachment 502 of e-mail's 501 are (if encrypted) decrypted. The file is parsed and it's content will be added to the Junglemap server database 102 that contains the Junglemap plug-in and toolbar data as described above.

All information going back and forth between the server 201 and the Junglemap plug-in 203 is optionally encrypted for privacy reasons. If requested in this file, in- formation can be encrypted and sent as an e-mail attachment 302 to the client 103. Also, on configured intervals, the server 101 will read data from the database and generate e-mail statistics reports. These reports will be sent to all or defined users and administrators as regular e-mail and contains information on the individual e-mail user's ratings versus a given organizational average (optional), within a given and configurable time span. To whom these reports are sent, and what reports should be sent are decided by the customer involved in configuring recipients and reports on the Junglemap server 101.

Figure 5 shows an example of the e-mail report the Junglemap Client (e-mail sender) 103 gets - other forms/formats may be used. The report is sent from the server 101 as a system generated report. The report starts with a personal greeting to the Junglemap Client (e-mail sender) 103). Further, it contains a set of Junglemap server 101 configured report elements 402. Each element displays the scoring this individual Junglemap Client (e-mail sender) 203 has been given by the other users, as a group, within a Junglemap server 101 configured time span and optionally compared to an organizational average or score 404. The individual score 403 is calculated by the server based upon what feedback button 302 on the Junglemap toolbar 301 the e-mail recipients have clicked after having received an e-mail from the e-mail sender.

Further, the report consists of a section of other individual feedback elements 405, along with this Junglemap Clients (e-mail sender) score per element. Elements to be included are configured at the Junglemap server 101 level. Lastly, the report contains a company average section 406 that contains elements defined at the Junglemap server 101 level, along with actual numbers per element.

Having described preferred embodiments of the invention it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that other embodiments incorporating the concepts may be used. These and other examples of the invention illustrated above are intended by way of example only and the actual scope of the invention is to be determined from the following claims.

Claims

1. System for email monitoring in a computer network environment, the system comprising: a plurality of clients having the ability to interact with the network, an email server, a second server interacting with the email server and the plurality of clients, wherein the second server providing email reports at predetermined intervals to email senders at the clients containing email recipient evaluation.
2. System according to claim 1 , characterized in an email feedback mechanism in the email program toolbar, the email feedback mechanism is represented as toolbar buttons representing administrator or server configurable data-elements and e-mail report elements.
3. System according to claim 1 , characterized in a client mechanism storing data on e-mail sender name, e-mail header and e-mail body along with date and time sent and which toolbar button was selected in a data file on the client.
4. System according to claim 1 , characterized in a client mechanism transmitting said data file to the second server at predetermined intervals or when the client is connected to the network.
5. System according to claim 4, characterized in that the client mechanism encrypts the data before transmittal to the second server.
6. System according to claim 2, characterized in a second server calculating mechanism calculating numerical values based upon the selected email feedback buttons.
7. System according to claim 6, characterized in that the email feedback reports are sent to the clients as email.
8. System according to claim 1 , characterized in that the report comprising recipient ratings in graphical or numerical format based on the calculated numerical values providing simple and understandable information on email usage behaviour for each client in the network displayed on a display device on the client.
9. System according to claim 1 , characterized in that the network is a Local Area Network (LAN), a Wide Area Network (WAN) or Internet.
10. Method for email monitoring in a computer network environment comprising an email server and a plurality of clients having the ability to interact with the network, the method comprising: a second server interacting with the email server and the plurality of clients, wherein the second server providing email sender reports at predetermined inter- vals to email senders at the clients containing email recipient evaluation.
11. Method according to claim 10, characterized in performing email feedback by selecting toolbar email feedback buttons in the email program toolbar, the email feedback toolbar buttons representing administrator or server configurable data-elements and e-mail report elements.
12. Method according to claim 11 , characterized in upon selecting a toolbar email feedback button, storing data on e-mail sender name, e-mail header and e-mail body along with date and time sent and which button was selected, in a data file on the email client.
13. Method according to claim 10, characterized in that the second server calculates individual numerical value data for each email sender based upon what feedback button on the email feedback toolbar the e-mail recipients have selected after having received an e- mail from an e-mail sender.
14. Method according to claim 13, characterized in that at predetermined intervals, the second server reads data from the second server database and generates e-mail statistics reports.
15. Method according to claim 14, characterized in that the reports are sent as email to the clients.
16. Network server comprising: - a server mechanism for receiving user email feedback data sent from a user as a result of user evaluation of received email at said user, and for storing the email feedback data at the server,
- a server processing mechanism processing said feedback data and generating email feedback reports for each email sender in said network, and - a server transmitting mechanism transmitting said email reports to the email senders in the network at predetermined intervals.
17. Method of operating a network server, the method comprising:
- upon receipt of user email feedback data sent from a user as a result of user evaluation of received email at said user, storing the email feedback data at the server,
- processing said feedback data generating email feedback reports for each email sender in said network, and
- at predetermined intervals transmitting said email reports to the email senders in the network.
PCT/NO2003/000160 2002-05-15 2003-05-15 Method and a system for email evaluation WO2003098515A1 (en)

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US38030702P true 2002-05-15 2002-05-15
US60/380,307 2002-05-15

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US9685158B2 (en) 2010-06-02 2017-06-20 Yahoo! Inc. Systems and methods to present voice message information to a user of a computing device
US10078819B2 (en) 2011-06-21 2018-09-18 Oath Inc. Presenting favorite contacts information to a user of a computing device
US10089986B2 (en) 2011-06-21 2018-10-02 Oath Inc. Systems and methods to present voice message information to a user of a computing device
US9747583B2 (en) 2011-06-30 2017-08-29 Yahoo Holdings, Inc. Presenting entity profile information to a user of a computing device
US10013672B2 (en) 2012-11-02 2018-07-03 Oath Inc. Address extraction from a communication
US10192200B2 (en) 2012-12-04 2019-01-29 Oath Inc. Classifying a portion of user contact data into local contacts

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