A study by McKinsey Global Institute found that on an average, an employee spends 28% of his or her time at work reading and answering emails. That’s a whopping 13 hours a week of employees “being busy” without focussing on productive tasks. So what is it that makes emails so ineffective when it comes to enterprise social collaboration:
Email is designed for Communication not Social Collaboration
Let’s not be ungrateful. Email has been and still is, one of the most effective and simplest way to communicate. Just tap into your “Compose” and sitting in New York, you can communicate your message to a colleague in India, in near real time.
But the modern enterprise is not just about communicating. It is a lot more about collaborating and tapping into the collective potential of your workforce. Imagine sending multiple edits to a document by email. How do you track latest attachments? Add a few more people to the conversation and you have the perfect recipe for an apocalypse!
Email Filtering: Looking for the Needle in a Haystack
As per a report by DMR, 269 billion emails are sent everyday with an average office worker receiving approximately 121 emails per day. This includes spams, irrelevant mails, cc’ed mails, calendar invites and responses – the haystack. Hidden somewhere in your employees’ unread inbox are the needles – the important emails awaiting immediate response from their end. Filtering features of your email client like Labels, Folders, Multiple Inbox, Smart Inbox, etc. help to a certain extent but they still have to go through the drudgery of sifting through their emails…some valuable time lost which could have otherwise been utilized for some more productive work.
Information Sharing through Email: Closed & Siloed Creating Bottlenecks
Email is used to share a lot of information including attachments and links. Conversations happen inbox-to-inbox. Files are reviewed and sent back and forth. Inbox becomes richer and richer everyday with information being deposited. However, silos are created within inbox, out of the reach of other employees. This creates major bottlenecks which hamper the progress of the project.
To further complicate matters, what if an employee quits midway a project? Be ready to invest both your time and money to create new resources to locate or recreate the same information.
Email’s diminishing role in the Enterprise Collaboration
With the rise of social collaboration tools and networks, the use of email as an official communication system is gradually getting phased out. As Tim Eisenhauer points out in this blog post, social collaborative tools are replacing email, which is now being used mainly as a notification tool. Earlier the first thing employees used to do after coming to work was to check their inboxes.Today with the adoption of collaboration tools, emails are serving as mere doorways to these platforms through notifications and alerts.
So is there a better way to collaborate without getting lost in email threads?
Yes, there are smarter and more effective ways to handle enterprise collaboration. Solutions that can help overcome information silos, find answers quickly and more importantly provide all the information that is needed for a task in a more structured manner.
Here are 5 powerful enterprise social collaboration tools that are way better than email:
Tapping into Multiple Perspectives through Discussion Forums
When a decision is being made, discussion forums allow your employees to voice their view and opinions.
Business Benefits: Employee views can be tapped to tweak the decisions. Helps in improving employee satisfaction and positively impacts the adoption rate of the new decisions.
Knowledge sharing across levels using Blogs
Using Blogs, a CEO or a senior leader can share best practices and research case studies. Business units can hold brainstorming sessions or maintain ongoing conversations with Q&As on a blog.
Business Benefits: Information silos are broken. More trust and transparency in the enterprise.
Minimizing Data Loss through Central Repository for Files & Documents
When files are stored in inboxes, they are in a risk of being lost when the individual leaves the organization.
Business Benefits: A central repository can be used to house the intellectual property of the company which can not only be leveraged by the other individuals, but also will have a longer life.
Collaborating by co-creating content using Wiki
Using wikis, multiple people would be able to contribute to one piece of knowledge.
Business Benefits: Updated content is always readily available for everyone to access.
Unlocking the power of the collective brain through Community and Groups
A community is the collective brain of a set of individuals. All their contributions – files, links, discussions – are available in the reach of the members of the community.
Business Benefits: You achieve a lot more working together.
Enterprise social collaboration tools that are driving social adoption:
The two major collaboration tools that are driving social adoption are:
IBM Connections: A people-centric platform that allows ideas to thrive and filters out the noise thereby enabling innovation across mobile, web and desktop, even offline.
Office 365: With features like online meetings, file sharing, task management and office applications, one gets a familiar, top-of-the-line set of productivity tools, whether in office or on-the-go.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to unlock your organization’s collective energy with a thriving enterprise social collaboration platform.
Maarga is a boutique consultancy (www.maargasystems.com) , with deep expertise in deploying, customizing and enabling adoption of Enterprise Social Collaboration platforms. Reach out to your collaboration expert at firstname.lastname@example.org