Palo Alto's Collaborative Email Software Goes SaaS
Palo Alto Software Inc., an Oregon-based company best known for their business plan software, released their first Software-as-a-Service product in hopes to solve all the world’s email bottlenecking troubles for cheap.

When in a Jam, Automate!

Palo Alto Software is pretty well known for their flagship product, Business Plan Pro (now in its 11th generation), but decided to branch out this year with a collaborative email service called Email Center Pro -- after working the kinks out of the software that was initially designed for their personal use.
email center pro screen shot 2008

Email Center Pro Interface

Email Center Pro includes the following features: * Centralized customer email: Messages sent to addresses like [email protected], [email protected], or [email protected] are managed all from one location using a Web-based interface. * Smart Folders: Smart Folders are folders with brains. The user tells the software which emails he or she wants to see and Smart Folders organize them for you. Additionally, you will be alerted of incoming emails that are recognized as similar to those already organized. * Message follow-up: Incoming emails can be assigned to specific employees to respond to. Everyone viewing the queue will see who is responsible for what, eliminating confusion and embarrassing multiple replies. * Email templates: Email Center Pro includes a searchable template library, where you can create and store replies that you will likely use over and over again.

It’s a SaaS World

In spite of sketchy feedback, including a few people who complained about the whole concept of collaborative email being an old idea, Palo Alto Inc. seems confident that their product is worth a try, and without even having tried it ourselves, we agree. It’s a little strange to talk about anything booming during our current economic crunch, but if there’s one thing that’s definitely popular, it’s eDiscovery. Without the ability to properly organize and store documentation, companies are in danger of falling into a frenzy of increased legal costs, sluggish response time, decreased customer base and questionable professionalism. Companies including Tangent have recently jumped on the SaaS train with their email archiving appliance DataCove. As steps in the eDiscovery direction become more frequent and more necessary, we expect to see a number of other companies doing the same in the near future.