Email is the go-to platform for business communication, but is it about to be dethroned by a collaboration software successor?
Many businesses have become disenchanted with email, viewing it as an outmoded communications tool that cause frustration and zaps productivity. Recent research found the average employee spends more than a quarter of their working week just reading and responding to email.
Email may have its strengths, being a short and one-time communication, but it often falls down when businesses seek to communicate effectively with a group of people and distribute information.
This has led many companies to turn to conversational tools to better share information and collaborate with co-workers and customers. Tayfun Bilsel, CEO of collaboration software house Clinked, said: “Better solutions than email now exist to facilitate group collaboration and organise conversations and topics.”
The problem with email
Email is a great tool for brief communication where you want an immediate response. But if you begin to collaborate on a project, email buckles under the pressure.
Organising emails is another challenge, whether you use labels or folders, and finding that important email or putting it in the right location is a time consuming task.
Other issues include forwarding long email threads from multiple recipients, collaborating within working groups, introducing new team members to a project who require access to past email chains and retaining focus after reading one email and then moving onto another topic. Research revealed that employees take, on average, 15 minutes to return to serious mental tasks after responding to an incoming email or instant message.
New generation, new communication
Social media and texting are key communication tools in today’s world. Email is slowly becoming an outmoded technology that fails to meet the current tech generation’s expectations.
This is where collaboration software can pick up the online communication gauntlet. Conversations are organised before they have even begun as users can send messages only after setting up a topic, channel and users.
Collaboration software encourages the sharing of ideas using familiar tools. Bilsel said: “Some collaboration software uses formats inspired by social media ideas, such as the hashtag from Twitter or the ability to tag a user into a conversation.”
Bilsel added: “We are experiencing a natural cultural shift to collaboration software as it mimics the immersive and collaborative nature of social media. Businesses can easily expand conversations and share information to co-workers and customers, improving their reach within a secure environment.”
These new communication tools are not just aimed at big organisations, many small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups are turning to collaboration software to increase productivity, according to Bilsel.
The functionality and ease of use of collaboration software cannot be beaten, but it is unlikely to ever completely replace email communication. Emails are still an easy tool for short communication and should be used to complement collaboration software.
Bilsel said: “The advantage collaboration software has over email is its ability to adapt and evolve with customer demands and market trends. Functionality can easily be added to match expectations, making collaboration software adept at surviving the ever-changing technical landscape.”
By using email to focus on short, time pressured communication and collaboration software to focus on large, more complex projects, businesses can find a winning balance between old and new technology. Collaboration software is not an email killer, it’s actually its saviour.
Gemma Church is the ‘freelance writer who gets tech’, a specialist freelance writer for the science and technology sectors