If Email is Outdated, What's Next?

Employees, and particularly managers, spend hours plowing through emails that don’t contain information they need. A survey pegged the amount of time middle managers lose to irrelevant emails at 100 hours a year.

Strategist Don Tapscott argues that email is essentially a 20th century tool, one that needs to be replaced with tools that resemble the functionality of social media networks.

He discussed the idea in an interview with McKinsey:

“How do we get beyond email to these new social platforms that include an industrial-strength social network? Not through Facebook, because that’s not the right tool. But there are tools now: wikis, blogs, microblogging, ideation tools, jams, next-generation project management, what I call collaborative decision management. These are social tools for decision making. These are the new operating systems for the 21st-century enterprise in the sense that these are the platforms upon which talent—you can think of talent as the app—works, and performs, and creates capability.”

But those tools aren’t an improvement unless they are seamlessly incorporated into one platform, an idea called "unified communications."

Computer Weekly reports:

“Email in particular can be a great time waster, giving employees a sense of being busy, but without necessarily helping them achieve useful results for the business. The answer for many companies is unified communications, a convergence of technologies which promises to help people communicate more effectively. Unified Communications can bring rapid returns on investment, while at the same time freeing up workers from the drudgery of email and voicemail. But IT leaders report that the biggest benefit is better work-life balance for staff. That means happier, more productive workers and a better environment in which to work, leading CIOs told a meeting of Computer Weekly’s CW500 Club.”

Sources: Broadsoft, Computer Weekly, McKinsey & Co., The Grossman Group & LCWA Research Group

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