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GoogleApps_March26_CBusiness managers, owners and employees have come to rely on email so much that it has changed the way we communicate, largely for the better. Because it is an important part of daily operations, many users would like a get an overview of their email usage and related statistics. If you use Gmail, there is a useful tool that provides an interesting look into your email habits.

Gmail Meter is a script written to help users keep track of their Gmail usage. How it works is you setup a script – a mini program that tells a number of Google Apps to develop a report – that runs once a month, creates a statistical report and emails it to you.

The report provides statistical data and allows you to analyze your usage and email habits. Some statistics tracked include:

  • Volume – This section tracks data like the number of people who sent you emails, how many were starred/important, addressed directly to you and how many emails you sent.
  • Traffic – The report provides a graph that shows the average times you received emails and when you sent them. It also provides the average number of emails sent and received each day for the past week. This could be a big help in determining scheduling, or picking times when you want to be checking email.
  • Response times – This section provides information on the time it takes you to respond to emails, as well as how long others take to respond to your emails. The main benefit here is so you can judge how people may feel about your response times. For example, if you take 6 hours to respond to an email, this could make some clients mad – it would be a good thing to work on.
  • Word counts – Gmail Meter tracks the length of your emails and graphs them, giving you a good glimpse into not only how long your emails are, but how long people’s responses are to the emails you send. If you see that you send wordy emails, it may be a good idea to cut back a bit – save your time as well as your reader’s.
  • Top senders and recipients – This report provides you a list of top senders and recipients, allowing you to see who you communicate with the most. If you see that the top 4 communicators are people who sit near you, maybe other mediums of communication would be more successful?
    Internal vs External – This section gives you an overview of how many of your emails were sent within the company versus the outside world.

This report provides great insight into how you use Gmail. If leveraged correctly, you could spot areas for improvement. For example, you notice that you receive most of your emails in the afternoon, but send most of your emails in the morning. This likely means that you spend most of the day looking at email, and may benefit from setting specific times to check and reply to email. More than anything, it’s a cool look into something we use on a daily basis and likely take for granted.

Setup Gmail Meter

If you would like to set this feature up, you can do so by:

  1. Going to Google Drive and creating a new Spreadsheet – press Create and select Spreadsheet.
  2. Clicking on Tools followed by Script Gallery
  3. Searching for Gmail Meter and pressing Install.
  4. Clicking Authorize to give the script permission to run and gather information from your apps.

You should now be able to run the script simply by going to the Spreadsheet you opened earlier and looking for the tab labeled Gmail Meter in the menu bar. Click on it and select Get a Report. The script will run and you will get an email with the information, normally within a couple of hours. From then on, you will get a monthly report on the same day.

You can also visit the Gmail Meter website and set it up from there. Installing the website version is simple, just press Get Started.

This script was written for a third party developer (not Google). While some users may see this as a security issue, the script is installed on what’s called the client side – your version of Gmail and Google Drive. The developer of the script does not have access to your email, but you will need to give the script permission to access different Google Apps and information.

If you would like to learn more about this feature, or other ways Google Apps can be used in your business, contact us today.

Gmail Meter provides insight into email

Office365_Nov05_CThe poll has long been a staple method for groups of people to make informed decisions. As many of us are now online and communicate almost solely via chat and video messaging programs, the software we use should have polls. If you use Lync, part of the popular Office 365 suite from Microsoft, you and your group can utilize polls to make decisions easier.

Here is an overview of polls in Lync.

Before you begin a poll
Because you can create a poll directly in group chats in Lync, you will first need to start a group chat, or be made a presenter in an existing chat. If you are not a presenter or the organizer of the group, ask the organizer to update your status.

Polling is also made easier if you take a moment before creating it to jot down or think about what exactly you are polling for e.g., for feedback on a specific point or to form part of a more complex decision making process. This will help you devise the questions or options participants choose from.

You should also be aware that this feature allows for only one poll to be active at any one time and each poll can only have a single question and up to seven answers. If you need to ask more than one question, separate polls will be needed.

Creating a poll in Lync
You can create a poll by:

  1. Opening a group chat – it can be either IM, phone or an audio/visual conversation.
  2. Hovering over the monitor icon and selecting Poll.
  3. Entering a name for the poll in the Poll name box, followed by the question in the Question box.
  4. Entering your answers in the Choices box.
  5. Pressing Create to launch the poll.

Managing the poll
Once you have created the poll the question and choices will appear in the group chat window. You will see a Poll Actions button at the bottom of the window, this allows you to manage the poll.

For example, if everyone has voted, press the Poll Actions button and select Poll is closed to end the poll. You can also save the results as an image by pressing Save the poll results.

To close the poll, press Stop Presenting at the top of the chat window. This will allow users to continue chatting and also allow you to launch another poll if need be.

If you are looking to learn more about using Office 365 in your business, please contact us today to see how we can help.

Published on 26th March 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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