The Future of Enterprise:
The slow death of email

The slow death of email.
As more social forms of digital communication rise to prominence within corporate walls,
email is starting to seem a little old fashioned.

As we established in previous weeks, the world of enterprise is currently undergoing a technological revolution that will transform the way business as we know it, is conducted. This is the fourth of an eight-part blog series examining the changes that will drastically alter the corporate landscape in the next five years.

What’s Changing?

Imagine a life free of the drudgery that comes along with deleting an inbox full of “limited offers” alongside the all of latest bulletins from head office. Though it used to be considered a time saving blessing, email could quickly find itself following the fax machine into the dustbin of once beloved communication tools, turned office nuisances.

As least in terms of internal corporate communication, the death of email might not be as far away as one might think. I’m not saying that you will walk into the office one day soon and will no longer require an inbox, but the slow demise of this time-consuming medium does seem inevitable. Although email has proven itself to be a great linear communication tool, it has limitations in today’s business world — particularly in regards to team collaboration. Will it inevitably be replaced by something more collaborative in the social world? I think so. The deluge of information flooding employee accounts on a daily basis is one of the most important problems companies are currently facing and it’s time to start thinking differently about how corporate communication streams are conducted.

A Day At The Office...

There’s no denying that millennials are starting to dominate the workforce and these young up and comers are already shunning the now middle-aged traditional email method. So too are a number of high-tech, forward thinking offices that have already abandoned email all together. When it comes to group projects, trying to manage workloads and correspond via email can be a lot like collecting sand with a pair of tweezers. You forget to CC people, threads go on endlessly and items get lost in the shuffle or simply in translation.

Instead, many companies are making a shift towards instant messaging and chat-style collaborative services inspired by social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Real-time activity streams of employee activities like status updates, content sharing and a number of other socially-based features are becoming commonplace in the office environment. Not only are these systems easy and intuitive for employees to navigate, but they are streamlining processed that could take dozens of exchanged emails to communicate.

An Early Adopter

When email is the primary communication tool, even the best information flow can get tedious at times. It’s for this reason that ELAN Construction plans to take the inbox out of its key processes once and for all. The company is creating a centralized, web-based system that will improve internal communication from corporate announcements all the way through to time card submissions. After conducting internal focus groups Vice President Todd Poulson says “We were challenged with the need to communicate effectively and efficiently throughout our company.  We found that while not a large employee group, we are working in many different locations and we were struggling to keep our employees informed.”

These types of solutions are being sought by many companies to continuously update its varying group members on contact details, projects, safety, benefits, and training. “We pursued a solution for our employees to interact professionally and socially.”