Technology affords us many neat new tools. However, sometimes a tool can outlive its usefulness. Some companies are finding that email is one such tool. That means it is time to pick a better tool.
Like many companies, Atos (a French global technology firm with 90,000 workers) found that employees were spending 15 to 20 hours each week just handling email. The company leadership decided it was time to call a moratorium on email. The directive was given to stop using it—at least as much as feasible.
Instead of email, Atos employees collaborated on an in-house social network called BlueKiwi. The product’s ease of use and its collaborative format generated efficiency gains. Although the leadership team cannot say that BlueKiwi directly caused it, they couldn’t help noticing that operating margins increased 60% so far during the new tool’s four-year implementation.
Anything that improves an inefficient process or replaces it with an efficient process will help the organization. As Carol Matlack reports, shifting away from email can be a productivity enhancer for the right work situation (“One Company Tries Life Without (Much) E-Mail” Bloomberg Businessweek. 10/12/15–10/18/15, pp. 36–37):
“One group of Atos consultants used the network to set up an internal help desk where they assist each other in answering client queries. The time needed to resolve queries dropped to 45 minutes from the two hours it took when the consultants helped each other via e-mail.” (p. 36)
Never stop looking for a better tool.