Like many of you, we are formulating our goals for the upcoming year. While we’re not sure if we’ll reach them or not, it’s a good idea for us to let you know where we’re headed so you can make plans and generally look forward to upcoming new add-ins to make your life easier.
In general our theme for this year is twofold. One goal is improving the customer experience and the other is getting more automation into your email life – a general concentration on shortening the amount of time you need to spend in email, whether through rules, manually organizing your email or handling your contacts.
Improving your experience with Sperry Software is something that requires feedback from you. In the past, many of you have asked for a list of what’s new in the last few releases, an easier way of finding out what you purchased and where they are activated, and generally automating most of the financial aspects like how to get a copy of the receipt.
Regarding our other simultaneous goal of bringing more automation to your email life, first on our list is turning on our automatic updates. We used to have this feature but turned it off when version 7.0 of the add-ins was being introduced, to prevent upgrading people when those versions were still marked beta. As mentioned, we are also committing to keep a list of new features and major bug fixes to make it easier for you to see what has changed and if it’s even worth it for you to spend time upgrading.
Next up is adding a few key features to Quick Text Hotkeys – it would be nice if when replying to an email, the first thing that would happen is the words “Hi Mike,” or “Hi Mary,” appeared at the top of the reply email like many other clients do. That and better access to the list of text snippets is important in order to allow you to cut down on drudgery when working in email.
Next is Timed Email Organizer – this add-in has a lot of room for growth. We plan on initially implementing the features of the now deprecated Watch Outlook Folders, that is, add the ability to notify you if an email arrives or changes in some other folder than your Inbox. This is frequently requested from users that have a shared mailbox, where people need to be notified if someone changes say, the category of an email (claiming it as their own for example, or worse assigning it a category that they weren’t supposed to). Improving the ease of use is also on the list (for instance, right clicking on an email and seeing “Create rule”, and/or possibly “What rule caused this email to get here”).
Another priority will be creating a major feature addition to Add Email Address – this is the add-in that automatically adds people you reply to as contacts. It currently reads the email address and the name of the person but to be truly useful, it needs to read the original sender’s signature and add those details like phone numbers, street addresses, etc to the contact record.
And while we’re at it, an add-in to manage unsubscribes (we’re talking about when you send out a newsletter, not when you subscribe to emails you want to read). The problem is that when users are using Send Individually today, there is no way to effectively manage how to not send them an email newsletter next time if they request it. It’s not a problem if you have 30 clients you’re emailing, but if your list gets to be around 1,000 or 2,000 recipients, it can be quite a job to manage the list. A new add-in to automatically scan your email looking for words like “Unsubscribe” or “Undeliverable” would be a great time saver.
But perhaps the most important change going forward is our focus on Office 365. For the last 19 years (roughly – we sold our first add-in in June 2001) all our products focused on the desktop version of Outlook add-ins. However, with Microsoft emphasizing the cloud aspect of Office 365 email we want to keep pace with both Microsoft and our users. So to that end, we will begin creating a product line that better serves this market. In fact, we’ve already begun with our Schedule Recurring Email for Office 365 (which lets you send regularly occurring emails from your Office 365 account according to your schedule). The beauty of this solution is that your local machine does not have to have Outlook be up and running in order to to have it send out automatic emails. So, going forward we plan on creating a version of Timed Email Organizer for Office 365 that can do many of the same things that the current desktop version does. We do not plan on duplicating the features in Microsoft’s Power Automate (aka “Flow”) but rather implementing things that cannot be accomplished with this or other tools.
That’s a pretty good list to start. Is there anything you’d like to add to our roadmap? Comment below or email us. We’d love to hear it!