JRB - Fotolia

News Stay informed about the latest enterprise technology news and product updates.

Microsoft's email Clutter tool helps to attain Inbox Zero

Clutter is Microsoft's latest tool for Office 365 Outlook end users who want to dig out from the email chaos and achieve Inbox Zero.

Office 365 business users who want to achieve Inbox Zero may be able to get there with Microsoft's Clutter email feature.

The new tool helps end users become more productive by automatically decluttering their inboxes and placing lower-priority messages into a Clutter folder. It uses Microsoft's Office Graph machine to understand end-user behavior for reading, setting aside or deleting emails and predict whether incoming messages are important or not.

Microsoft demonstrated Clutter earlier this year at its Microsoft Exchange Conference, where some IT pros questioned whether this feature would take away users' control over their inboxes. To prevent important emails from erroneously ending up in the Clutter email folder, end users will have to check both their Inbox and Clutter folders for messages.

Months later, however, IT professionals seem to have changed their tune, especially as more and more emails flood inboxes and end users try to achieve the holy grail of Inbox Zero.

"It is a tool that is desperately needed by people as they deal with all the chaos in their inbox," said Brian Katz, director of mobile innovation for a large pharmaceutical company based in New Jersey.

Katz said he wonders how much information Microsoft ends up with after users train the application. He also cautioned that too much reliance on Clutter could result in users missing important messages.

But providing a way for a user to manage an unruly inbox with hundreds of unread emails could become a competitive feature for Office 365. Since CEO Satya Nadella took the helm of the $87 billion company earlier this year, his mission has been to get Microsoft back to its roots by enabling users to become more productive while incorporating the cloud first, mobile first mantra.

It is a tool that is desperately needed by people as they deal with all the chaos in their inbox.
Brian Katzdirector of mobile innovation with a large pharmaceutical company

The tool is designed to ensure end users see relevant information first, and that non-critical items are in the background, said Wes Miller, vice president of research at Directions of Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash. "It's all about surfacing context-critical information to users," he said.

The new feature joins a number of third-party email offerings that provide similar functionality, such as SaneBox, Mailbox and others. Google recently began beta-testing Inbox, a new Gmail interface designed to help end users declutter their inboxes by automatically categorizing incoming emails and enabling users to deal with emails immediately or later.

Clutter should be viewed in the broader context of other products such as Delve, Lync, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business and Yammer that are reinventing how workers communicate and receive information, said Chris Hertz, president and CEO of New Signature, an IT consulting company in Washington, D.C., specializing in Office 365.

Microsoft will begin rolling out Clutter to Office 365 first-release customers now and later this month for standard Office 365 tenants. The feature will be disabled as a default but can be turned on in the Outlook Web App. End users can customize their Clutter folders with actions to clean and delete messages.

Dig Deeper on Microsoft Office Suite

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Join the conversation

4 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

Will you consider Office 365's Clutter feature?
Cancel
It's an interesting approach, but the biggest problem with it, at least in my estimation, is that this still puts information out of the flow of consideration. Out of sight out of mind. Also, it's tied to Outlook, which may be OK for some situations but for those of us with multiple accounts and multiple platforms, it's a locked-in solution.

A tool that I have found to be interesting, and allow for a broader use and configuration is unroll.me (http://unroll.me). The way it works is that I can determine if I want to keep messages in my inbox, unsubscribe from them, or roll them up to be reviewed later. The net result is that the messages are stashed in a file similar to clutter, with daily messages sent as digests to show what came in. Each time unroll.me is accessed, you have the chance of refining the rol up, or unsubscribing from each message, or making sure further messages go straight to inbox. If Outlook is all you need, the Clutter option may be fine. If you need to have more access to messages from different tools, again, I like the unroll.me option.
Cancel
@MichaelLarsen Thanks for sharing your thoughts on unroll.me. It's always helpful to hear about tools that works for others.
Cancel
It's an interesting approach, but the biggest problem with it, at least in my estimation, is that this still puts information out of the flow of consideration. Out of sight out of mind. Also, it's tied to Outlook, which may be OK for some situations but for those of us with multiple accounts and multiple platforms, it's a locked-in solution.

A tool that I have found to be interesting, and allow for a broader use and configuration is unroll.me (http://unroll.me). The way it works is that I can determine if I want to keep messages in my inbox, unsubscribe from them, or roll them up to be reviewed later. The net result is that the messages are stashed in a file similar to clutter, with daily messages sent as digests to show what came in. Each time unroll.me is accessed, you have the chance of refining the rol up, or unsubscribing from each message, or making sure further messages go straight to inbox. If Outlook is all you need, the Clutter option may be fine. If you need to have more access to messages from different tools, again, I like the unroll.me option.
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

SearchVirtualDesktop

SearchWindowsServer

SearchExchange

Close