Exploring how email is not dead, it is just being used in a different way.
I like to compare email to playing a game of darts. Numerous darts are targeted at a circular board with the intention of getting bulls eye. The more darts that are on a board, the more challenging it becomes to target bulls eye. In this case, as more and more emails attack my inbox, the more difficult it is to get my attention and response.
An email claiming I won 4 million dollars, and an email claiming I need to wire money to South Africa is in the same email inbox as an email from Igloo Software's CEO.The key question is - who would want to scan their email inbox for relevant information when there are layers of silos? Not me.
While there are organizational folders and junk email filters available to reduce the amount of stress one goes through when scanning their email inbox, some people just want email to die.
And it shows since people are taking action. According to a 2013 Social Intranet Study from Prescient Digital, it was found that "76 percent of the companies surveyed use instant messaging, at least in some limited way. About 75 percent use blogs. Around two-thirds have wikis, discussion forums, and user comments. It's fair to say social tools are being used widely."
While having these tools are great, is it really worth it to have 7 programs running just to get your job done? I don't want to have to IM someone to check out my document that is in a separate consumer file sharing service. This goes back to my frustration of scanning for information. Scanning different social tools for a nugget of information my colleague mentioned is the last thing I want.
So email isn't a great form of collaboration. Social tools aren't a great form of collaboration. What is left?
Of course there are social intranets. According to Toby Ward, "only 19 percent of organizations rated their social intranet tools as good or very good. Even fewer executives, 17 percent, like them." He elaborates that "tools are easy to come by, but demonstrating their value is considerably tougher."
I agree. Adoption of anything new takes work. Given that the definition of adoption is "to take up and make one's own", it would be logical to use a process your employees are already familiar with.
What I am going to say may be "crazy", but having email notifications as a way for employees to adopt social intranets is a great starting point.
At Igloo, if an employee microblogs a corporate announcement, I immediately get a notification via email. Instead of having these conversations trapped in instant messaging and other social applications, I can login to the corporate intranet. Or if someone comments on a document I uploaded into our social intranet, I receive an email notification. I now receive emails that take me back into the corporate intranet - these emails influence me to login and actually use the corporate intranet. I can stop stressing around the idea of scanning my email inbox for suggested edits since conversations around my work documents are now in one unified environment. No longer do I rely on email for content and conversations, I rely on email for notifications - which leads me back into the social intranet where content and conversations live. So maybe email isn't dead, maybe the way of using it is though.
Prescient Digital Media is actually going to be speaking at our Technology Exchange in Toronto on May 16th, 2013. They will be joined by Ipswitch, NII, and ORION where they will all discuss how their organization's operations have changed since adopting a collaborative intranet/portal. At no charge, you are invited to join these leading organizations where they will share best practices around social business & collaboration.
Ragan Communications, Employees don't like their social intranets, study says, Matt Wilson, 2013.
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