Looking beyond email

by / Wednesday, 07 December 2011 / Published in Blogs

I read with great interest the New York Times 5th. December opinion column, Should Workplaces Curtail email? More so this topic has garnered much attention when CEO of Atos, Thierry Breton declared his Zero email policy for internal communication.

Of all the debaters for the New York Times, it was Luis Suarez article that really caught my attention. While the post covered what we would miss in case of completely doing away with email, I would go the other way of exploring how the present generation business social software / collaboration software is working or how it can be used.

Consider a situation where a Consumer Goods company wants to launch a new product. This would involve many teams like R&D, Product development, Operations, Sales & Marketing. Imagine the list of mails that one would have to go through with such a cross-functional team being set-up. As against this how would a Facebook / LinkedIn like collaboration software work?

Let’s take another case where a Bank is about to open a branch that it has not covered so far. How would employees & management of the bank discuss strategies regarding promotions, product placements, hiring with other retail branch employees & management? Would email really work in such a context?

Luis Suarez’s article does cover 2 companies Klick and Notebooks on how they have done away with email and are using collaborative tools that suit their needs. The previous blog by our COO, Mahendra Penumathsa covers this point aptly.

My take:

  1. Email does have its place – it is not going away anytime soon.
  2. Rather than buying software / solutions that have a one size fits all – explore software or tools  that can provide custom offerings suiting your business process. Even maps can be a collaborative tool but does it serve any purpose to you?
  3. Buying a tool is just one part of the story. Will it be adopted and serve the purpose you want it to serve? Too many features, complicated UI can spoil the party even before it has begun.

Are you or companies in your industry using collaboration tools/ software other than email? Have you considered doing away with email & why you have not done so? Join us on LinkedIn to share your thoughts and carry this discussion forward – Looking beyond email.

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