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Too much noise in your work communications? Help the machine get better

Paul Teyssier | June 22, 2016
It is great that machines are able to learn and predict the information you need based on implicit clues you give. But - especially in business communications - you have to be able to direct it intentionally.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

I just got back from a meeting with a new client and my inbox is filled with hundreds of messages, alerts, emails and even a few voicemails. Grrr. This ratio of signal to noise - a combination of too many channels and ways to be notified, and only one of me to interpret it all - makes me want to poke myself in the eyeballs. At Symphony, we are obsessed with fixing this problem.

Here's where we are: there has been a lot of progress recently, as Artificial intelligence (AI) is being employed by many to filter messages. For instance, Gmail automatically sorts promotions, social messages - and flags really important messages. Twitter tells you what's trending in your network. Facebook surfaces updates from people the system believes you should care about.

For consumer-grade information, that's great. But when it comes to your business information and communications, a better answer is to couple AI and your own human intelligence so each can learn from the other and create what has been coined "Contextual Intelligence".

Why? With the tools available today, even if you have invested the enormous amount of time to organize your messages, you've likely missed some important ones and read junk that should have been buried. We need to reexamine the tools we use.

It is great that machines are able to learn and predict the information you need based on implicit clues you give. But - especially in business communications - you have to be able to direct it intentionally. This way, you can turn off the things that are no longer relevant to you (remember the baby blanket ads that follow you around like a stalker after you purchase one for a friend?) - or, pump up the volume on things that have become more important (you just got promoted to lead a new project, and need to learn everything that is being said in the entire company about it - fast). 

This desire, and value, of very specific filters is uniquely critical in the business world. The right tool with the right filters can actually replace serendipitous water cooler chat. Take, for instance, a situation where your team is having a conversation about a certain issue and then you're notified about a chat going on within another department about the exact same topic. Voilà! You can unite forces, take the knowledge from both teams and increase your level of awesome.

 

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