Osterman Research just published two interesting reports, namely
The first report opens like this: Email is the single most important tool in helping employees to get work done in organizations of all sizes.
Most important tool to get work done. Do you agree? I don’t. At least, my mind struggles in supporting this. I believe I have a choice. Getting things done cannot depend on (the use of) an email program.
I won’t underestimate the value of email programs and its stored information, as the report states in the second paragraph: email is not solely about
communications – just as important as access to email for communications is its role as a repository of critical business information.
However this is a choice of the people who work with email.
Like the email user has a choice whether to store an attachment on disk, on the server, the SAN or Cloud if you wish, or to move it inside the email program’s folder list in such a way that that email user can find the document the next time he/she needs it.
Or, in worst case, forward it to your home email. That way making it more likely a so called “last version” of an important document is lost in the middle of all places.
IMO the email user is the one to decide on where to store the information (or even better, delete it when it’s of no use anymore). AND while most people work in teams, groups, projects, etc. where there is more than one email user, the team, etc. can make that choice. That defines an organization, people who decide how to work together.
Perhaps this inner resistance comes from a feeling of hating to see people using email over and over the same way – for decades even. Using a program gives you choices, not limits. As free as you are to type in an email what you think (though it can be against company policy or create damage to the company if it’s being found out), that’s just as free you are to use email and an email program in ways that fits you the best. Be unique, bother the secretary and the adminstrator with questions and wishes that they never heard of. Start a user group that shares ideas and experience. Drop notes to the change advisory board. Get the energy out of the email and its use and into something that shows the human influence.
The second report shows some good points about managing messaging environments.
It says: A first step in approaching best practices focused on messaging is to understand the risks your organization faces.
Many decision makers underappreciate these risks because they are too busy, they don’t have budget (…), or they have not focused sufficiently on the growing number of risks they face.
And finally it says something I support and preach for years: It is critical to develop detailed and thorough corporate policies.
Email policy is just one of these. IMO it should state what the organization thinks about the use and value of email and its stored information and how it deals and works with it. This policy should not only clarify but also liberate, give a choice and explain why and what are its benefits.
Download both reports and see for yourself.