Has email become the new fax machine? Thierry Breton, Atos Origin CEO and Chairman, would have you believe so.
Following through with a promise made earlier this year to eliminate email use among company employees, Breton plans to move beyond email within the next eighteen months and initiate a communication policy based on instant messaging and social media sites. As Atos Origin is a major international information technology company, the decision to abandon email has the potential to influence other companies' methods of communication among employees.
“The volume of emails we send and receive is unsustainable for business," Breton said. "Managers spend between 5 and 20 hours a week reading and writing emails. They are already using social media networking more than search, and spend 25 per cent of their time searching for information. At Atos Origin, for example, we have set up collaboration tools and social community platforms, to share and keep track of ideas on subjects from innovation and Lean Management through to sales. Businesses need to do more of this - email is on the way out as the best way to run a company and do business.”
Atos Origins claims that middle managers spend over 25% of their time searching for information while maintaining that social networking is more popular now than email.
If this sounds familiar, you're probably not alone.
Though Breton's vision could increase productivity and communication among his company's employees, it's hard to dismiss the higher value of communicating via email in the greater population. For one, it's an inexpensive marketing tool that has the potential to directly address an enormous audience. In fact, an informal poll conducted on the Telegraph's website indicates that a majority of people believe email is still relevant. Alternately, some reactions from industry insiders on Twitter have extolled this progression from email to social media:
More curious is that Breton appears to be undeterred by Google's recent announcement that they would be permanently shuttering the windows of Wave, Google's attempt to weave email, social media, and instant messaging into a more productive tapestry for users. Then again, maybe the success rate goes up when people don't have any choice other than to adapt to a new communication medium.
The good part? At least now Atos employees won't have to be so discreet about sneaking onto Facebook to troll their friends.
What do you think? Is email really that antiquated? Let us know in your comments.