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harmon.ie says Atos’ plan to remove email from the workplace could be disastrous to business

Filed under: All Articles > Industry News
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By: NMK Created on: December 13th, 2011
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Commenting on reports that technology giant Atos is to phase out internal email as a means of communication, social email provider harmon.ie says Atos’ plan is bucking the industry trend – a classic case of ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater,’ as the old adage goes. By David Lavenda.

 

By David Lavenda

Email, by far the most pervasive communication platform in organizations with over 95% usage according to Forrester Research, is not going away any time soon.

Getting people to use new social and collaboration tools is an uphill battle, because people don’t like change. While early technology adopters readily embrace new social and collaboration tools, a recent Forrester Research study reports dismally low adoption rates among typical users, with only 3-4% of workers using microblogging technologies while 8-15% use social networks.

Expecting staff to become more productive by introducing them to new communication tools - whilst at the same time removing a familiar system - is a highly disruptive work strategy that can alienate all but the most adventurous technology adopters. It just doesn’t make sense for most people.

Another problem with this strategy is introducing another tool for internal communications, while continuing to use email to communicate with the rest of the world – it’s a total non-starter.

For example, what happens when you need to send a message to someone in the company AND someone outside the company? The idea of adding another communication platform goes completely against the trend of reducing the number of communication modalities, which is the direction of the market.

Instead of ditching email, companies should use email as a starting point for enhancing work conditions and business performance. Building social and collaboration capabilities into peoples’ familiar tools and workflows is a great way of easing them into new technologies.

The effectiveness of a social email approach is borne out by a recent uSamp survey of more than 1,000 IT users, in which 78% of business users report they are more likely to use collaboration and social business tools if they are accessible in a familiar work environment such as email. 89 percent publish documents and/or emails on SharePoint when they can do so from within email, a 75% increase over those using the standalone SharePoint interface.

Much as I respect the chief executive of Atos, email is not going to go away. It’s not a trend, but an integral part of modern business communications. You simply cannot afford to remove it from the business toolset. Bottom line? Atos’ problem doesn’t stem from using email - it stems from the inefficient use of email as a communications medium. Make the process more efficient and you dramatically improve staff productivity – while they stay firmly within their comfort zone.

For more on Atos’ plan to remove internal email from the workplace: http://bit.ly/rUMntN

About the author

David Lavenda is VP Product Strategy at harmon.ie. For the past 20 years, David Lavenda has served as an executive for a number of high-tech companies. After completing an undergraduate degree in Physics, advanced studies in Electrical Engineering, and an MBA in Marketing, David co-founded Business Layers, an identity management company, serving as VP Marketing and Product Strategy from its inception until the company's successful sale five years later. Additional stints as VP of Marketing and Product Strategy for several successful high-tech companies followed.

David is a technology expert blogger for Fast Company. He is also pursuing advanced studies in STS (Science, Technology, and Society) - focusing on the research of online behaviors.

About harmon.ie

harmon.ie (pronounced ‘harmony’) is a provider of social email software that brings document collaboration to every business user by transforming the email client into a collaboration and social workspace. Thousands of businesses already use harmon.ie social email to vastly increase user adoption of Microsoft SharePoint or Google Docs for document sharing, collaboration, and social networking. Formerly known as Mainsoft, the company has been building cross-platform enterprise software since 1993.

For more on harmon.ie: http://www.harmon.ie

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