Current Awareness Strategy Blog

Vable Inbox v Microsoft Outlook: What's the alternative to Outlook?

As an information professional, how long do you spend on email management? How many emails do you forward every day? How often do you reach zero in your Gmail or Outlook inbox? An Adobe study stated that fewer people than ever are achieving "inbox zero" with many saying that it is an impossible task. No wonder we approach our work inboxes with a mix of trepidation and resignation. 

How many people achieve zero emails in their inbox?

The problem is compounded if you are responsible for an organisation’s library and information service inbox, where you will be receiving 100s of essential subscription emails or Google alerts which you need to forward, archive, or process. Some of your end-users will expect to receive “stop press” news stories as soon as they hit your inbox, so it can be a continuous - disruptive - task throughout the day. 

The Outlook solution to the email forwarding issue

Outlook is the industry standard email solution used in many organisations. Information people have always made the best of the available tools and technology to manage their organisation’s current awareness emails. This is why everyone is familiar with the various useful Outlook tools which assist with inbox management. 

Information staff set up Outlook rules so that any incoming email messages that match specific conditions specified in the rule can be automatically forwarded or redirected to another email account or inbox folder. This same forwarding functionality can be found in Gmail and other email solutions. They also offer other useful functionality, for instance, Outlook, Gmail etc allow you to set up redirects, and create folders, filters and labels, so you can manage your inbox day-to-day.

Although these standard client email software programmes or webmail platforms are adequate for most work purposes, all of these systems have limitations and are certainly not geared towards solving the information management problems faced by library, information and knowledge departments.

How is Vable Inbox different from Outlook and other email systems?

As one client mentioned recently, Outlook is not always fit for purpose. If you are limited by the number of rules you can have, important and expensive email alerts can sit in your inbox when you are on holiday or away from the office. Many library and information services have access to a central inbox to prevent this from happening but, again, rule functionality is limited. You are: 

  • Unable to synchronise user lists with your organisation’s active directory
  • Unable to automatically remove ‘unsubscribe’ links
  • Unable to amend the subject heading of emails, and
  • You have limitations on the number of email rules you can set up

Vable Inbox is popular amongst information managers for a variety of reasons. With a subscription to Vable Inbox, you have access to a single location where you and your colleagues can manage all email subscriptions from third party providers, as well as those from your own organisation.

What can Vable Inbox do that Outlook can’t?

Vable Inbox allows you to easily keep hundreds of colleagues informed with content that is relevant to them, whilst reducing the noise in their inboxes. Administrators receive email newsletters and alerts into Inbox, keeping their own personal Outlook inboxes as clear as possible. Let’s explore the other Vable Inbox benefits. 


Introduction to Vable Inbox - get started immediately

Vable Inbox is cloud-based so you can start setting up rules and using the system straight away. There is no special software that needs to be downloaded to a computer or device. In technical terms Vable Inbox is a structured email parser which relies on simple rules to tell it what to do with items in your inbox. 

Everything you need to know about Vable inbox

Problems with measuring ROI on your subscriptions?

Unlike Outlook, Vable Inbox collects statistics across all types of content to determine how many, and which emails to end-users, are opened and if there is any subsequent click-through on links within those emails. These statistics will be consistent across all email subscriptions, regardless of which publisher they come from. The Jinfo reviewer commented; 

The ability to save time by setting up auto-forwarding to those end-users is a key factor in this product’s value as is the ability to track their subsequent reading actions which can help an information manager really learn whether the end-users are interacting with the content being sent to them in a positive manner. The feedback that the usage reports provide are invaluable.

This eliminates the often painful experience of having to manipulate data provided by publishers into a single, coherent report for management. It’s not just good for analysis, one particular client use of these click through statistics is a “Top Articles on xyz Round-Up” newsletter. This way you can ensure that your end-users have seen the top articles in the relevant subject, department or organisation. 

Efficient end-user management

No longer does everyone in the team have to update their own individual groups of users - or rely on the IT department to set up bespoke subscription groups in Outlook. With Vable Inbox administrators are responsible for centrally managing end-users. When people leave the organisation, you can simply delete them from the platform and they are automatically removed from email lists. 

This keeps your records accurate and reduces the time involved in ensuring all end-user subscriptions have been updated. This is especially useful when there are a limited number of licences for a particular email subscription. If your organisation has Active Directory synchronisation with Vable, this process can be automated.

Control over email content 

Just like Outlook, Vable Inbox does not produce content per se, but rather it allows you to manage the content that comes into the organisation via publisher newsletters, journal updates, or even Google Alerts. You can ask Vable Inbox to remove “unsubscribe links” to prevent your end users from managing their own emails and unsubscribing themselves from essential emails. 

Although Vable Inbox is a standalone email management system, it can be used in conjunction with Vable InfoPro. Although Vable Infopro has not been the focus of this post, Vable Inbox’s dual flexibility gives you different presentation options. Once you have set up your Vable Inbox rules to extract content, subject to third party licenses, content will be added to the Vable platform. 

This valuable email content, which is private to your organisation, can then be combined with content coming from other emails, RSS feeds and web pages. This not only reduces the number of emails that your end users receive in their own inbox but it is presented within a specially designed firm-branded newsletter template. This branding has a real impact on the visibility of the library and information services.

Vable Inbox is a unique tool designed for information professionals

Vable is dedicated to empowering library and information professionals. The role of the library and information professional is to be an intermediary to help end-users get the right information to the right person, at the right time and at the right price. Part of this role is to act as a filter in the information flow, which can be a challenge when we face a deluge of emails. Unlike Outlook and other email systems, Vable Inbox has been designed especially to ensure that your end-users receive the information they need, with minimal intervention from you.

Find out how Vable Inbox made a real difference to this US firm  →

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