There are many conflicting opinions on the current value and future viability of email in the enterprise -- some observers have gone as far as to declare email dead as a business tool, while others acknowledge its role is changing as communications technology changes, but say it still has an important place. Process/content management solutions vendor Perceptive Software subscribes to the second theory.
Perceptive Software (a Lexmark company) is releasing Perceptive Interact for Microsoft Outlook, a solution designed to allow users to manage email content the same way other enterprise content is managed. Through their existing Outlook interface, users can gain access to Perceptive Interact content management and workflow functionality such as dragging and dropping email messages and attachment into other communication and workflow streams, retrieving deleted emails, and place email under standard rules governing content versioning and retention, indexing and inclusion in business processes.
Brian Anderson, CTO of Perceptive Software, is quoted in a press release as calling email the “lifeblood” of many organizations and a key collaboration tool that if not properly managed, results in information scattered across different inboxes and inefficient business processes. Anderson’s answer to the situation is to open email to the enterprise. Other industry experts have a different answer.
Everyone Hates Email
As reported by CMSWire in September 2012, email took a “bruising” at the Dachis Social Business Summit. Two expert speakers came right out and expressed hatred for email and urged attendees to leave it behind completely. CMSWire editor Siobhan Fagan reported that 22-year veteran IBM employee Chris Crummey “hates” email and spends “as little time on it as possible and if someone has the gall to send him an email, he responds on a public wall.”
Crummey’s hatred of email actually stems from some of the problems cited by Anderson -- siloed information and the need to search through inboxes for one specific piece of valuable information. Rather than integrating email with other forms of corporate communication, IBM is relying heavily on instant messaging.
In addition, Dachis SVP of Strategy Dave Gray said “fear” is holding companies back from ditching email and Daniel Debow, founder of Rypple, compared companies that don’t want to leave email to the companies that didn’t want to switch to email when it was first introduced -- they’re not around anymore.
Well, Maybe Not Everyone
Email still has some prominent defenders, as reflected in a July 2012 Forbes column naming an email hosting provider as one of the “must-have communication tools for every business.” Contributor Hanny Lerner wrote, “We prefer to go back and forth by email for hours, when we can just pick up the phone instead and get an answer in 3 seconds. I’m guilty of that too, and have no idea why! Point is, email is extremely important.” I know a certain CTO of a certain Lexmark-owned software company that would wholeheartedly agree.