1. E-mail lacks filter systems -- Because email platforms lack adequate filter capabilities, inboxes can easily become clogged with spam and additional unwanted or low-priority information. Email becomes more of an information repository than a mission critical means of communication, significantly slowing down productivity as employees take extra time to weed through junk mail and neglect more pressing matters needing immediate response.
  2. Inconsistency in the delivery and response due to email trees -- While one person in a team may hit “reply all,” others may forget or only copy a few in their response. People who may be critical to a decision could be left out entirely.
  3. Streams of communication can become interspersed, repeated or even worse, lost in translation -- This can cause major delays and inefficiencies in decision making. How can all people involved offer input or value based on previous information and ideas shared if they’re not able to see relevant conversation threads?
  4. Organizational assets can be withheld – Information exchanged in email tends to be locked in silos -- which can become a problem when a key member leaves the company. Valuable knowledge could be lost in personal inboxes instead of shared, accessed and retained corporate wide.

The Value of Enterprise-wide Social Collaboration

Social Collaboration’s true value is recognized when a company wants to have conversations among multiple employees at the same time and get collective, informative feedback instantly, to address burning issues or questions.

This is where social collaboration can be most effective; it eliminates the time spent digging through email and overcomes global barriers, while also creating an atmosphere to easily tap into the talents and ideas of knowledge experts across the organization.

Listed below are numerous benefits and competitive advantages that organizations receive from making the switch from email to a social collaboration platform:

  • Provides a more efficient way for managing communication -- By providing a single social platform for users to collaborate, multiple employees can communicate with each other in real-time, instead of waiting for feedback on documents via email.
  • Improves employee engagement -- When working with a team or group with common interests on a specific project or business process, these tools encourage sharing and engagement due to the open, transparent nature of a the communication platform.
  • Fosters creativity and innovation -- Through crowdsourcing, team members can brainstorm together for innovation based on collective ideas and decisions.
  • Leverages or uncovers hidden talent -- Offers easy access to knowledge experts to weigh in on specific topics and discussions.
  • Increases productivity -- Brings people together to brainstorm solutions and solve complex business challenges quickly and efficiently. All team members can see filtered conversation threads, and therefore can offer instant, valuable insight and feedback as opposed to searching through inboxes. According to a recent McKinsey study, improved communication and collaboration using social technologies can increase productivity by 20 to 25 percent.
  • Breaks down silos -- Helps teams work more effectively across departments and regions, especially when in remote locations.
  • Promotes transparency – Information that can be used by more people within the company, does not sit in an isolated environment but is available and is retained for anyone when they need it or want it.
  • Secure and reliable means of communication -- Advanced social collaboration platforms provide a secure environment for conversations to happen in real time.
  • Easy to filter, save and file information -- Unlike email, conversation threads are filtered to provide relevant, time-sensitive information. Messages are more easily searchable and presented within context.

When implemented and managed correctly, social collaboration tools can provide major benefits in solving business problems through collective brainstorming and knowledge sharing, and tapping into experts on specific conversations or topics. Teams are at a business advantage for innovation, greater efficiency and rapid problem solving than those who still rely on email.

Image courtesy of Nikola Bilic (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Curious to read another perspective on email? Read Erik Hartman's Email Isn't Dead Yet