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The stories coming out about about Atos Origin banning use of email internally make me sad. That is not the right way to push the use of the right tool for the right job. It is going to result in employees hating "social tools" just as much as they hate email today.
Bryce Williams's profile photoDoug Moore's profile photoTerri Griffith's profile photoAlan Lepofsky's profile photo
it's a pretty crazy choice, I agree. I don't imagine that things will magically become better overnight, either.
Plus, you want to communicate with your customers in the way THEY want to communicate.
To be fair, he did say "between employees", so they will still keep email for customer communications. However, I think that makes it ever more confusing for employees. Ever with just 30 coworkers, I use email often to communicate. "Social" IS NOT the right choice for all situations.
Do they have private messaging on their social tool? If they do, it's really just replacing one inbox with another...
folks will be watching for the results with interest though... talk about volunteering for a social experiment.
+Robyn Miller you nailed it. I hear so many social evangelists talk about reducing email, yet they send 200 DMs a day. Ridiculous. I'd like to see someone count the total number of communications (email, chat, status updates, etc) they send a day and compare that to a few years ago, I guarantee it has gone up, not down.
Nobody tell Luis Suarez.... :-)
and texts, and IMs... It still means they are trying to control my attention... The only way a network really works is when people understand that I will get to it when I get to it, and then determine what really needs immediacy through some direct mode. I admit I violate that as much as anyone.
For sure we communicate more, it's so much easier. The point of the network is to get all the conversations out of silos, and those DMs, txts and IMs surely don't. I bet you they will have a ton of them, and it will be even more disruptive than before. Behaviors don't change like that.
+Alan Lepofsky - is the quantity the problem? Surely flow|stream services are popular because people can handle more bits of information with less of burden. People need to be educated to understand how to manage the level exposure to information that is of benefit to them, or shift high volume flows out to less disruptive channels (email subscriptions to twitter streams for blog updates). Also agree with what's being said that the restriction of choices about communication types will not alter behaviours - rather drive the same behaviour to surface its communication in another mode e.g. (dms, texts). Communication to direct attention or drive task management, almost always needs private comms (1-to-1 or in small teams perhaps), but the value comes from making the results of that work available and re-usable by the community.
+Charlie Hope "but the value comes from making the results of that work available and re-usable by the community" - I agree that is the nirvana of social. The issue is that I do a lot of things the "community" does not need to know about/contribute to, and email is perfect for those.
+Alan Lepofsky - ha indeed! And so the bemused curiosity around the Atos announcement and what they will turn to replace email. Email is not broken, it's just that not everyone uses it in the right way.
I so do agree with you. E-mail is not broken, just choose the right tool for the right job. Forbidding e-mail is nice to make people rethink collaboration and communication, but the risk is that you'll have too much resistance. Unfortunately these kind of stories still generate so much free publicity that we haven't seen the last of these announcements.
+Andy Piper Hi Andy, you were calling me out? Well, here I am ;-)) hehe +Alan Lepofsky Great conversation over here, although I'm still missing the main point as to why ATOS Consulting is going to ditch corporate email. It has not nothing to do with the fact of replacing email with social tools. It's a bit more of a fundamental problem where the company didn't feel their employees were productive enough by spending too much time responding to useless emails that could have been resolved by making a simple phone call, or a quick IM or just walk from one cubicle to another. Nothing to do with social tools. Actually, the fact they haven't mention any of the social technologies they will be using, and which they are investigating, clearly indicates this is not about pushing for a social agenda. This is more of a fundamental problem: help employees be more productive by stopping the number #1 productivity killer of the corporate world today: email and our sheer abuse of it left and right

That's what's at stake over here, I am afraid. It is not the social technologies, whichever they chose, but more how do we make our employees much more productive than they are and reduce drastically that email clutter that keeps them 2 to 3 hours every day away from their customers. And whether you would want to use social tools for that or not, it's a different conversation. But we all know that with this blunt move what they are actually doing is something no other corporate has even dared to do on a global scale: transition from a need to know mentality to a need to share one, i.e. share your knowledge out in the public by default, unless being told otherwise.

And that alone surely deserves the attention that if they make it work for such a large org. the rest of us would no longer have an excuse not to join and follow suit... And, boy, you bet I just can't wait for that to happen! #lawwe #noemail
Email is NOT broken, it does what it's supposed to do really well. The use of it as a collaboration tool has been surpassed by more appropriate social tools. I could just as easily say social is broken because it makes information transparent. Right tool for the right job. Taking email away from employees is not the answer. Teaching them when and jow to more affectively use social tools is.

Glad you see your initial reaction, +Alan Lepofsky . Thanks for bringing to my attention +Robyn Miller .

I've had 5-6 people point me to this article this week (ironically I am running an internal "experiment" this week at work trying to make it through a work week without using email). And like many of the comments above, while the title and big picture seem cool, the whole thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth for reasons already mentioned.

My advertisement internally behind my experiment has been to shift any knowledge sharing I am doing out of email (and any knowledge sharing people are prompting me to do via email) into a more open location so it can benefit more people, and I can get a higher return on my effort for sharing that information. Then people read this article (and a few have shared it via our internal social collab platform) and conclude "get out of email, and use IM more!" The war isn't against email itself, it's against hidden and lost knowledge that is getting captured in a less efficient manner.

Even during my experiment this week where my intentions where to go cold turkey, I have still made the decision to send 7-8 emails this week, realizing email was an effective and appropriate channel. But continued to shift any collaboration where I thought the conversation had benefit beyond the addressees on that message.

This article is not conveying the take away I want people to have, nor the purpose for what I am doing. Yet people are still associating it with my cause just by reading the title. Great timing ;)
Or, thinking more positively, maybe it is fortuitous timing so I have the opportunity to clearly point out the difference instead of assuming that anyone watching completely understands the purpose behind my experiment. I'll go with the glass half full approach here ;)
What can I say ... the French are the French!!! But on a serious note ... do you really think this guy doesn't understand the need for both the "social" .. ie a one-to-many broadcast .. and the good old fashioned "personal" .. ie a one-to-one, private & confidential .. means of communication. I think he does!!! Excellent way to both stimulate discussion around new technology and raise the global profile of his organization. Good job Mr. CEO!!!!!
+Alan Lepofsky Thank you for this new example of unplugged-management. I am with +Luis Suarez when it comes to email, but agree with you about this flawed approach.
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