Seamless integration of order processing in MS Outlook using SmartOffice: an empirical evaluation
MS Outlook is currently the most widespread e-mail client in corporate environments. However, e-mail management with MS Outlook is usually decoupled from enterprise processes, making it difficult to synchronize e-mails and attachments with currently running processes. In this paper, we introduce SmartOffice -- an extension for MS Outlook allowing the seamless integration of e-mail management with enterprise workflows, thus increasing the effectiveness of e-mail processing as well as coupling process-relevant e-mails and documents with the respective process instances. SmartOffice was integrated with a legacy system supporting the import management process of a large German retailer. We evaluated the SmartOffice integration in an empirical study in the context of the import process, using real data, and with the employees of the retailer's import office. We conducted a semi-structured interview, where one participant answered questions after solving three typical tasks and surveyed a group after a presentation and demonstration of SmartOffice's functionality. The results show that SmartOffice has high potential for being introduced in the process with high efficiency and high user acceptance. Although the number of participants was low, the results are considered very relevant from the perspective of the domain experts, since the study took place in an industrial setting.