How We Used Enron Emails to Improve Communications for Customer-Facing Teams

Remember a romantic comedy in 1998 about two rival book stores owners falling in love over email?  (hint: Tom Hanks is in it.)  People actually looked forward to checking emails back then, which is hard to imagine nowadays because emails are usually associated to stress and inefficient use of time.  Not only are they a major time sink, they are not designed to be used for collaborating with your colleagues and customers in a complex, enterprise project setting.

At ContextSmith, our mission is to improve email communication for all customer-facing teams.  These groups of people spend 80%+ of their time collaborating with customers and managing communication at different level across project and executive teams, and this is where we can make the most impact. The graph you see above is a proof of concept of our intelligent email-clustering analysis, using Enron's email dataset - specifically Steve J. Kean's inbox.  We identified 21 external clusters (aka "projects") that he worked on over time, each representing different colored nodes.  The density of each "project" equates to sum of communication (denser means more email exchanges), and the light blue nodes acting as center of mass are Enron employees.  We have been fine tuning our technology repeatedly with various Enron inboxes and successfully analyzed over 100,000 email patterns.

What is the problem?

Email is the main communication tool for B2B projects.  Everything, such as project status, contracts, and customer documents, are all communicated through emails.  However, the email starts to break-down when project teams gets larger - for example, when sales, engineering or partners start getting involved - and various chains of communication take place separately.  Silos of knowledge are created over time, resulting in fragmented information scattered across the organization. The fact is, 56% of failed projects in 2014 are caused by ineffective project communication, according to Project Management Institute.

Why does it matter?

This graph is automatically created from Kean's inbox without manual intervention, using our proprietary technology.  What this mean for professional services teams is that every consultant's graph can be automatically created and combined to form a enterprise project collaboration network.  These valuable insights that are now organized and easily consumable by anyone in the organization, which allows the whole company to get on the same page about project status and history.  Project transition will be a breeze, and project miscommunication is minimized.  As a result, more time is spent making customer happy instead of working around the inefficiencies of emails.Join us as we transform your email experience by signing up or following this blog.  We're currently in private beta and looking for applicants to test drive our product!