You have (no) mail

The Meg Ryan – Tom Hanks starrer You’ve got mail was a endearing movie that I loved a lot.  If you are among the 10 people in the world who have not seen it, it is about a romance that blossoms between two real world adversaries on email.

That was 1998.  A full 13 years ago.

Email has come a long way – from Nigerian princes who want to bequeath you millions to being copied on every piece of conversation in the office, email has morphed from being a communication tool to being a vent for verbal diarrhea.  What was once a productivity multiplier today has become a black hole that sucks any available time (the other big productivity killer is conference calls – but I digress).

Many enlightened organisations have already begun moving to group emails, ticket based systems and real time chat to reduce their dependence on email.

Atos shook up the world recently by banning all internal email from 2014. Yes!

In a nutshell Atos want’s its employees to use internal communication tools such as chat and team rooms.  They found that on an average it’s employees used 15-20 hours of work time on email – that’s almost 50% of their work week.  Given that an internal survey pointed out that only 15% of the email traffic was “useful” email, the decision was simple.

So is Thiery Breton – the CEO of Atos being bold or plain stupid?

In My view is 10 years or so, an organisation has to do a re-look on what communication tools it uses.  I have been using social platforms at work, and it has helped me reduce my email traffic by atleast 20-30%.  It has also had some other benefits in terms of automatically creating a knowledge archive that is more available and relevant.

There is a very interesting debate on this issue that I found on the NYT website.

I agree with what Nicholas Carr says – we need to put the cost back into communication.  My view is that the IT organisation needs to charge it’s users a not-insignificant fee for every email sent. That change will automatically bring in the – is this email necessary? question to mind.

After all, what is free is always taken for granted!

 

 

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