Collaboration Solutions Can Save You From ‘Death By Email’

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In a world where many collaboration software solutions exist, email may be the least efficient for internal communication. Most would agree that managing email can be overwhelming and time-consuming. How often do you start your day with more emails than you can respond to within a reasonable time frame? How many times have you opened an email and the sender did not properly communicate the relevant information such as the customer’s name, priority, or a due date? Often, you reply back to the sender to ask more questions to clarify their question. We have all received the notorious chain email between multiple people, where in the end you are not sure why you were CC’d in the first place. Death by Email happens every day, perhaps there is a better way to communicate through other collaborative solutions.

I began searching for answers and collaborated with productivity masters, entrepreneurs, a PhD, and CEOs. What they all have in common is that they use collaborative tools and schedule time for productivity. Judith Kallos wrote an eBook about ‘Business Email Etiquette’ and talks about ‘101 Email Etiquette Tips’. I did not know etiquette for email ever existed, did you? Illy Pozin, a CEO and self-proclaimed serial entrepreneur says, “picking two to three times during the day when you are going to use email” is best for time management. “Responding instantly to every note that hits the inbox sucks more time than people might realize”, said Marsha Egan, a professional efficiency coach. To be productive, you need to buckle down and get tasks done without distractions.

Email can be productive and efficient. However, depending on the business process, there are collaborative solutions available that are far more efficient. Doctor Sharon Dill, CIO of PADI Americas, Inc., said “We are currently using Yammer for Support Groups to communicate with each other. The groups can share problems that they are having, and how they are helping the customer solve the problem.” Torre Tribout, President of Sniperdyne, uses Google Talk for instant message collaboration with his programmers and business partners about new features and enhancements for the launch of their new eCommerce solution. Neil Montgomery, President and CEO of Davis Controls Limited, uses Exact Synergy from Exact Software. Back in 1996, he told his staff to communicate and collaborate using Synergy workflow and no longer allowed internal emails. “When he met continued resistance, he mandated that employees must use the software, not email, to complete the business process it was designed to streamline”, said Baseline. Neil has a saying, “If it does not happen in Synergy, it never happened.” Back then, what Davis Controls did was considered revolutionary. Today we are seeing other companies follow suit. In November 2011, ABC news interviewed Thierry Breton, the CEO of Altos of the largest French IT company who implemented a ‘Zero Email’ policy. Thierry Breton said, “only 10 percent of the 200 messages employees receive per day are useful and 18 percent is spam.” Thierry says he plans to put an end to, “internal emails in 18 months, forcing the company’s 74,000 employees to communicate with each other via instant messaging and a Facebook-style interface.”

Every business has to decide how they will communicate internally and externally. I have found that each person, department, and team will differ on what software to use for communication, and for what purpose. There is a financial cost for ineffective communication, in many cases it is the loss of time. Middle managers of Altos “spend more than 25 percent of their time searching for information, according to the company.” When you communicate ineffectively, you put the burden on others to search, lookup, or reply back with more questions. Provide context and the details necessary for proper communication. Know when to email, instant message, use workflow, schedule a meeting, or simply pick up the phone. All of these collaboration solutions can save you from ‘Death by Email’. 

Original article was published March 30th, 2012 on Exact’s employee portal.

Reference:

Email Etiquette Tips by Judith Kallos. Websites: http://www.101emailetiquettetips.com http://www.businessemailetiquette.com
7 Things Highly Productive People Do by Illy Pozon. A columnist for Inc, Forbes, a serial entrepreneur, and CEO. Article: http://www.inc.com/ilya-pozin/7-things-highly-productive-people-do.html
Happy Information Overload Day! Author Doug Gross http://articles.cnn.com/2010-10-20/tech/information.overload.day_1_mails-marsha-egan-rss?_s=PM:TECH
Dr. Sharon Dill – CIO of PADI Americas, Inc. Website: http://www.padi.com
Torre Tribout, President of Sniperdyne. Website: http://www.sniperdyne.com
Getting Business to Flow by Baseline article about customer: Davis Controls Limited. Website: http://www.daviscontrols.com
Davis Controls announcement about Synergy – website link
Firm Implements Employee ‘Zero Email’ Policy – ABC News: http://abcn.ws/IfzlF3
The IT Boss Who Shuns Email – Wall Street Journal Online: http://on.wsj.com/HwnuFL

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