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Email program a time saver

AT a time when many companies are looking to cut costs and improve time management, the partnership between Perth-based software developer Orla Australia and IT services provider Ignia could not be timelier.

Orla Australia, formerly known as Unlocking Outlook, has issued an updated version of its software package that claims to increase employee efficiency and improve management of the Microsoft Outlook program by altering the way people deal with emails flooding inboxes each day.

Ignia director Chris Nurse said people often allow their inboxes to overfill, leaving a backlog of work which could have been dealt with at the time it was sent.

He said the Orla Essentials software, which Ignia is marketing in tandem with its other IT products, would change organisational behaviour by encouraging people to act on each email received.

Research by Orla Australia has found that people who deal with large volumes of daily emails can increase efficiency by 12 per cent, the equivalent of gaining an hour each day.

"Companies should own information, not people, but they just haven't had the training and tools to support an improved behaviour where they can fix the problem of having huge numbers of emails in the inboxes," Mr Nurse said.

"It's about changing people's workplace culture."

Orla Australia chief executive Stephen Barnes said emails had become a "send, receive and file cognitive paradigm" and that his software attempts to change that pattern to an action-based outcome.

"There are 10 things you can do with an email which can be distilled into four discrete actions," he said.

"And they are the four Ds: delete or ditch, deal with it, delegate, or decide what you are going to do. Either file it away somewhere, or turn that email into actionable work, so it ends up reflected in a new part of the technology, in this case Outlook, as either a task or as an appointment.

"The only really valuable information is timely information you can act on."

A pilot group of 45 senior managers at Murdoch University is trialling the software.

Murdoch director of the Office of Information Technology Services Chris Foley said the new Orla Australia software took the angst and effort away from dealing with emails.

"I find that this software saves time because it's not this ad hoc, chaotic way of dealing with the emails. It allows you to rationalise and be able to set up appointments and go through a logical process.

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