The explosive use of e-mail is offering brave new opportunities for eliciting unique customer insight from the intelligent analysis of e-mail. The massive growth of e-mail is a result of its unique ability to bridge time and space in conversational communication for pennies. Phone or print mail cannot match e-mail's accessibility and ubiquity. To effectively leverage business intelligence (BI) for e-mail, it is important to gain a clear definition of e- mail and the unique role it plays as a medium of communication.

Pattern analysis is a foundation of BI and has significant applications to e-mail; however, application of pattern analysis requires a fundamental understanding of the properties of e-mail. In this article, we explore the unique properties of e-mail that are central to any BI applications for e-mail.

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