Last year I profiled the Australian-born start-up Liaise as it wowed the crowds at the DEMO Fall 09 conference and showcase in Silicon Valley (Aussie start-up Liaise wows Demo). Since then founders Sidney Minassian and Alon Novy have been toiling to take the software out of beta and into a commercial release.
Liaise's software uses natural language processing to scan email messages for potential action items. Hence an email to a colleague asking for a report to be filed by "next week" can be automatically translated into a work flow item when it is received. Liaise is now available for a free trial.
Liaise is typical of many start-ups that are trying to reintroduce productivity into the run-away time vacuum that email has become. Minassian says that keeping the software as easy to use as possible has been a key design criteria, as he acknowledges that its introduction into any business could easily be considered disruptive to the way that employees work - and hence would be quickly ignore. Liaise is currently on the lookout for professional services firms that already use email as a work-flow originator.