Email: Make it structured, social and actionable in Podio

Let’s face it, email isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s still the easiest way to make that initial contact in almost any business relationship and to have short, less structured conversations with people you don’t regularly talk to. However, it’s pretty clear that email sucks for collaboration. Group conversations are a mess, workflows are impossible, as is getting a clear overview of what actually needs to be done, and by whom.

That’s okay. Email wasn’t built to be a collaboration tool. That’s Podio, and that’s why today sees the introduction of a new and improved way of bringing emails into your workflows on Podio –  adding structure and making emails social and actionable. Here’s how it will work for you:

Email to Status Message

Say you get an email from a customer, an agency, or a vendor that you’d like to discuss with your team. You can now forward the email to the relevant Podio Workspace. This will create a status message with the subject, body and any attachments from the email. Your team can then discuss the status with comments, without a cc-email in sight.

At the bottom of each workspace activity stream you’ll now see a ‘Create status via email’ icon. Click it and you’ll get your personal email address for the stream; you can either add it to your Gmail, Hotmail or Microsoft Exchange address book, or copy and paste the address from there. Forward the email to that address and it will become a status from you in the workspace. After the first time you do this the address will be saved in your email contacts so it’ll be even faster next time.

Email to App

Creating app items from emails is a great way to add structure and start workflows from messages that can easily get lost in your inbox. If you’re recruiting and a job candidate sends you their application via email, you can forward it to your Candidates App. A new item in the app will be created using the subject line, body and attachements from the email, for example their CV or portfolio. Your team will then be able to review the candidate and indicate if they should be be considered for the position, along with discussing the candidate with comments. You’ll find your email address for each app by clicking the wrench icon in the top right corner of the app, followed by ‘Email to app’.

Email to Task

When you receive an email that you need to take action on – for example, review a report or send a quote to a customer – you can now forward it to your personal task list in Podio. Keeping all your tasks in one place, with all the rest of your work. When you’re looking at your personal task list, you’ll find the email address to forward the emails to on the right hand side.

For Google Apps users you can take this a step further with the Podio email gadget. This enables you to assign tasks to specific co-workers and workspace, as well as attach them to specific app items to add real business context to each task. You can find out more about that here.

Your Workspaces, Apps and Tasks as contacts in Gmail, Hotmail and Microsoft Exchange

When you create a status message, app item or task from an email, the addresses you forward the emails to will be saved in your contacts list. Then next time, you’ll only need to type the name of the workspace in the forward box of your email to create the status. Here’s how it looks in Google:

We’re hoping with today’s additions to Podio, you’ll be able to tame your inbox and make it a more useful starting place for your workflows and conversations in Podio. As always, we’re really looking forward to hearing what you think.