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Survey: ‘Management by Inbox’ a Death Knell for Creative Projects

Nearly $600 billion will be lost in 2016 due to overdue projects that were mismanaged via email; Hightail releases Untangle™ to easily move creative projects out of email.

Campbell, CA — March 30, 2016 - Hightail™, a company focused on improving the collaboration process of creative professionals, today released new features to take visual content out of email and into the all-new Hightail for easier feedback, review and approval. The update includes a unique new capability called Untangle™. By simply forwarding an email, Untangle™ automatically creates a shared workspace designed for rich, contextual collaboration where teammates or clients can provide feedback directly on pictures, graphical assets, videos, and more.

Hightail has zeroed in on email inefficiencies in part due to the results of a survey that showcase the negative impact of relying on email as a project management tool for creative projects. Findings from this survey, coupled with independent data from the CMO Council*, estimate more than $600 billion will be lost in 2016 due to inefficiencies in “management by inbox.”

Key findings from the survey:

  • 66% of respondents said that their creative projects are managed primarily within email, despite the fact that 70% admitted email is an ineffective tool for managing creative projects.
  • 1 in every 3 respondents said they’ve worked on projects that were over budget or behind schedule in the last 12 months.
  • 75% of respondents report their team has “no effective creative process.”
  • 86% have difficulty getting final approval on their projects.

The survey of more than 400 creative professionals concentrated on the negative impact email has on the creative process in advertising, marketing, web design, architecture, and other fields that rely heavily on creative collaboration around visual files. The results show that teams relying on email as a primary mechanism of communication often have projects that are behind schedule, or failing all together; a phenomenon Hightail calls “management by inbox”.

Hightail's new Untangle feature helps counteract these challenges, by easily transitioning team projects out of email and into the all-new Hightail. Users simply forward an email thread to and Hightail automatically pulls attachments from the email thread and adds them into a shared online workplace, called a Hightail Space™, using the subject line of the forwarded email as the Space title.

“Hightail was originally founded to fix the problem of sending large files that email couldn't handle,” said Ranjith Kumaran, CEO and co-founder of Hightail. “Now we are focused on the problem of taking creative conversations out of email as well. The simple fact is that email is a fundamentally broken tool for gathering comments, reviews, approvals and other steps of the creative process. With Untangle, creative teams can easily transition into a Hightail Space to capture feedback, next steps and new versions all in one place.”

In addition to Untangle, the all-new Hightail enables many other ways to take conversations out of email, including real-time commenting threads, notifications when new comments are added to a Space, and annotating visual assets automatically when replies are sent via email.

*Reference to 3rd party data by the CMO Council on total revenue from creative projects / advertising:

About Hightail

Hightail aims to free the world's creativity by making creative collaboration more intuitive and accessible. As the company that helped creative professionals share their large video, design, artwork, photography and presentation files for more than a decade, Hightail is uniquely positioned to solve the problems of creative collaboration. Based in Campbell, CA employs approximately 100 people and serves more than 50 million users worldwide, including professionals at 98 percent of the Fortune 500. Learn more at

Press Contact in North America:

Marison Whisner