ONE OF THE DIGITAL REVOlution's more insidious effects has been the tidal wave of E-mail, electronic documents, faxes, and other messages, not all of which are entirely useful or relevant. It's just too easy to copy a document to any number of people, whether or not any of them wants to see it.
Diffusion Inc., a Mountain View (Calif.) startup, has a new cure for this problem. Its IntraExpress software, running on corporate intranets, acts as an unobtrusive but universal distribution mechanism. Say a manager produces a weekly report about what the competition's up to. Instead of just blasting it out to all 50 employees, IntraExpress would first electronically notify the other employees of the report's publication schedule and describe its contents. Then, each employee could respond in one of three ways: subscribe to the periodical, for automatic delivery from then on; ask only to be notified when a new edition comes out, so it can be retrieved when the reader wants it; or simply say thanks, but no thanks.
What's more, the software can deliver documents in any format. Based on a profile each employee creates, IntraExpress can automatically convert and deliver that report as a fax to one person, an E-mail to another, and a Web page to a third. The manager has to create only one version. IntraExpress is scheduled for shipment in early 1997. Pricing is not yet determined.