A few days ago I was reading the interview that Don Tapscott, an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, gave to McKinsey stating that email should be get rid of. I have to admit I agree with most of his statements but I don’t think killing email is the ultimate solution to internal communication platforms adoption nor the right way to embrace emergent technologies.
Besides having a communication channel outside the company, email does serve its internal purposes. I have looked over the emails I’ve sent and received during the last weeks. Indeed some of them could have been moved to our internal document collaboration platform but for many of them – I don’t think they should. Others are conversations with external providers which, from many reasons, it’s by far better to have them by email and have the output documented.
I do see the value of internal communication platforms. I’m a promoter of such a system but let’s not make the classical human mistake of making it the answer to all questions. It’s not.
There are many “soft” solutions to increasing internal platforms adoption. Why not move critical communication (e.g. bonus announcements) to the platform instead of email? Why not use gamification techniques and make it appealing?
Indeed, top management adoption is needed. Yes, we have to change the way we communicate and accept challenging open questions. The possibility to initiate, vote and debate new ideas should be easily available to all staff – this kind of discussions should indeed be stored in the internal communication platforms and even analysed in a structured way if possible. I would even support merging the two and have email as part of the internal communication platform – provided that security and functionality is being offered at the same level – but still, email would be, even then, a service on its own.
Instead of letting ourselves go with our human appetite for extremes, let’s make a smart use of existing and emerging technologies.