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In an effort to combat attention fatigue and information overload, the Burton Group, a Salt Lake City-based IT research firm, released a research report Jan. 8 introducing the concept of an Enterprise Attention Management system.

According to the report, in the current information economy, knowledge is everything but can be also stress-inducing, from e-mail overload, instant message intrusion on screens and unpredictable interruptions from PDAs and cell phones. An abundance of communication venues can make it difficult to pick out the important parts from the noise.

In the report, Craig Roth, a Burton Group vice-president and service director, encouraged IT architects to address information overload at the enterprise level through EAM, which is a method for improving the effectiveness of an enterprise’s information workers by providing tools and processes to help them gain control over the volume of communication they receive.

“EAM is not how to make attention grabbers more effective, but is how to make an organization’s information workers as a whole more effective,” said Roth.

Roth asserts that enterprises that address “info-stress” will be ahead of the curve, which can be done by implementing capabilities available in existing platforms. “Attentional” technologies pull the correct message forward while “attention-shielding” technologies push unwanted messages back.

Personalization, saved search, social networking, portals and XML syndication are listed among the attentional technologies; e-mail and IM filtering and rules, presence status indicators and enterprise automatic call routing are considered attention-shielding.

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