EchoMail, the first email management software solution, developed a number of tools for pattern analysis and categorization of emails and other electronic communication channels. EchoMail's core technology originated from VA Shiva Ayyadurai's invention for classifying inbound email for the U.S. White House, which was seeking a reliable encryption and classification system for U.S. President Bill Clinton's email.
EchoMail emerged from the work of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Text Retrieval Conference (TREC) studies with the U.S. White House in 1993. At that time, the Executive Office of the President of the United States, in conjunction with NIST, was looking for ways to automatically categorize the growing volume of inbound email that President Clinton was receiving. This resulted in a competition that was conducted across the United States to identify ways to manage email. VA Shiva Ayyadurai, a graduate student of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the time, won this competition. EchoMail, Inc. is now a subsidiary of General Interactive, but was initially developed under Information Cybernetics.
The first company to adopt the EchoMail email management solution was AT&T. Working with Modem Media, one of the leading interactive advertising agencies, Information Cybernetics guided JC Penney in establishing their customer care and marketing email management process in 1997.
EchoMail was one of the first email management systems to contain various components to handle different phases of the email management process. These components include:
- Email receipt module: Receives emails, filters out any SPAM and unwanted content to a separate queue (sometimes called email filtering), and assigns unique ticket numbers based on certain conditions.
- Data enhancement module: Adds tags to each email for further processing, and may include the ability to connect to remote databases and retrieve specific information about the email author and his/her transactions with the organization.
- Intelligent analysis module: 'Reads' the subject, message, attachments, and any tags added by the data enhancement module, analyzing its content in an attempt to understand the subject matter of the email. The module may store this 'intelligence' as additional tags.
- Routing management module: Uses gathered intelligence to determine which department(s) or person(s) in the organization are best suited for taking action on the email and sends the email to them.
- Response management module: This module composes a response, using gathered intelligence. Email management systems can be configured to send out certain responses automatically and to hold certain responses in a queue for the review of subject matter experts.
- Archival module: An essential module of email management system, this module (also called email archiving) stores every email received and response sent in a database that allows easy searching of past emails. An archive with search capability is legally required for certain organizations, such as financial service companies.
- Analytics module: Uses all the available information from other modules to present statistical reports and graphs. These reports and graphs help the organization to make both immediate decisions (increase or decrease staff that handles certain types of emails) and long-term decisions (improve a product or service that received high number of complaints in the past ninety days).
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- General Interactive, EchoMail, Inc.
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