Gary Simon, CEO, FSN says “Having been partially responsible for persuading businesses and CFOs to use email in the early 1980s I feel a little guilt-ridden saying that I would now like to get rid of it. But after 30 years I think it’s fair to say that email has run its course and the instant communications capability that will inevitably take its place is a game-changer for business collaboration, organisational effectiveness and productivity.”
Here are 5 reasons why email on the ‘inside’ will disappear
1. Email is not designed for prolonged dialogue
For simple one-to-one communications, or even many-to-one directives, email has provided a superb medium which transcends, geographical boundaries, unique systems and time zones. But it comes under strain when organizations use it conversationally. What starts out as simple dialogue quickly becomes convoluted as email threads start branching from the original topic, or participants mischievously or unwittingly start new threads (sometimes with different email addresses) that throw others off the scent of the original debate. This makes it particularly challenging for anyone wishing to find information, re-trace their steps or reconstruct the arguments.
2. Email ‘sits’ outside of business applications
What happens when something goes wrong in your business? For example, a budget variance that cannot be explained, a large sales invoice that is disputed or an unexpected stock-out? In most case CFOs turn to telephones, impromptu meetings, walking the corridors….and of course email. But that email system sits outside of the application so that the participants are unable to share what’s on the screen or productively work on the problem together. In fact when you send an email you don’t even know whether the other party is around to read it – something of a drawback when the problem is urgent.
3.Generation ‘X’ doesn’t (or doesn’t want to) use email
Talk to any youngster (if you can tear them away from their mobile phone) and you’ll find that in 70 to 80 percent of cases they use their smart phone and ‘instant communications’, for example, “Whatsapp” and other ‘instant messaging services’ as their preferred method of communication. Why – because they can easily define a small group of people that they want to talk to, they can instantly see who is present and available in the group and they can get a real-time response. It’s also part of a longer term trend away from hundreds of so called ‘friends’ on Facebook to a really select bunch of friends and family that they genuinely wish to speak to. So what makes businesses think that their young workforce will take to email?
4. Email isn’t orderly or searchable and spam gets in the way
The sheer volume of emails means that few of us have the time to organise our email boxes – even using the clever automated tools that are available. So we rely on relatively simple search functionality to find what we want – which is a rather hit or miss affair. And there is nothing that helps us retrieve and fully comprehend the context of the original exchanges.
5. There is a better way
Instant messaging (IM) is making its way into the business market. Juniper Research, says that 43 trillion instant messages will be sent on IM services in 2015, surpassing email for the first time. IM is attractive because of ‘presence checking’ and the ability to communicate instantly. But what if IM is embedded in the business applications themselves?
Early pioneers include FinancialForce.com that has embedded salesforce’s chatter inside its ERP system and Infor with Infor Ming.le™ its social collaboration platform that is fully integrated across business processes, not just added on.
It means that conversations can happen in the context of the application, while the participants are jointly viewing the software. This is collaboration at its best, enabling quick resolution of problems and providing an auditable history of what was discussed with no email branching and distractions. Functional and cross-functional teams can collaborate on their desktops or mobile devices and of course it’s all searchable.
Soon, nobody will want to use email for internal communications anymore.