Yesterday I installed the Outlook Social Connector–a new add-on to Outlook 2003, 2007, or 2010. To use a phrase from my youth, it’s “kinda nifty.” It’s cutting down on my clicking buttons and resorting messages to find things in my Inbox.
It aggregates information from Outlook as well as LinkedIn and SharePoint (assuming you have the appropriate connectors installed) as a way to give you a one-stop-shop view of a sender: e.g., their e-mails, meetings, and status updates. When you open a message from someone, a People Pane opens up and shows you this information. You can see them all at once (All Items) or filter them (Activities, Mail, Attachments, Meetings, Status Updates).
This add-on from Microsoft is not the only game in town–Xobni and Gist (works with Outlook, Gmail, or Lotus Notes) do somewhat the same thing. So if at times you feel that you’re going through a lot of work to find relevant information within Outlook, you should investigate these three options and see if one would help you, based on the way you work.