3 Email Alternatives For 2015
With 2015 just upon us, a lot of people are putting thought into what their New Year's resolution might be. Most aim for something that will help with self improvement, while others look to assist other people. Well one great resolution can help enterprises do both: Stop using email.
For many organizations, email has become a cornerstone of business communication. However, the medium has become so central to the way employees interact with one another that it has actually made them less productive and added unnecessary steps to everyday processes.
While email is convenient because it is both a means for communication and file sharing, inboxes have become massive dumping grounds for information concerning anything and everything. This has created a cluttered, unorganized mass of information that wastes time and offers little benefit.
"The idea that projects should be run on a non-prioritized trickle of un-categorized messages appearing chronologically on-screen during the course of the day, rather than project-wise, is bizarre in itself," noted Network World contributor Patrick Nelson. "Add to that the fact that the messages sometimes include re-iterations of previous messages, unfiltered hot air, arbitrary cc'ing and forwarding, and a confusing lack of attached-file version management, and the tool is clunky solution oftentimes."
As more companies begin to realize the problems with using email as their main method of communication, a growing number have started implementing zero email policies. French IT services provider Atos decided in 2011 that it was going to eliminate email and set a goal to do away with internal emails by 2013, according to Nelson. While the company wasn't able to totally remove the channel, it reduced email use by 60 percent. Atos was able to make such a drastic shift by implementing alternative communication methods such as social networking.
Perhaps completely eliminating the use of email is unrealistic, as it is one of the most convenient forms of external communication, but enterprises can employ a variety of email alternatives for internal messaging and experience an improvement in productivity and efficiency.
When email initially came to prominence, making phone calls almost went the way of the dinosaurs. However, the medium is starting to fall back into favor as employees miss the human connection provided by hearing another voice. Many clients also appreciate the personal touch that a phone call brings. Modern technology has made voice calling just as convenient and mobile as email, but without all the clutter.
Voice-over-IP technology offers users the ability to make phone calls over the Internet, saving enterprises money and broadening the area from which a call can be made. Many hosted voice providers also offer features that allow calls to office phones to be forwarded to mobile devices so employees can easily work remotely without interrupting workflow.
This has become one of the most popular enterprise alternatives to email. Internal instant messaging services provided through a unified communications suite offer the ease of emails without the latter's tendency to pile up. Messaging solutions are most beneficial for situations in which a quick answer will suffice, which is the opposite of what an email should be used for.
One of the reasons email became so popular within the enterprise is because it can be used to send notes back and forth between people working on the same document or project. However, the continuous stream of emails containing redundant or outdated information is part of what makes email so inefficient. Cloud-based document collaboration tools provide the best of email without the deluge of repetitive messages. Co-workers can edit and comment on files in the cloud, with changes clearly visible and no back and forth messages necessary.