Goodbye email – cloud-based apps are the future of collaboration
In the first of this two-part blog, 5 great reasons to break your email addiction, we looked at email addiction and how to break it. Now we examine an alternative to email that could transform the performance of you and your coworkers.
It is hard to imagine a world without email. A recent estimate is that 205 billion emails are sent every day. That’s 2.4 million a second.
It makes you wonder how anything got done in the old days. Yet somehow humans managed to build the pyramids, fly to the moon and unlock the mysteries of DNA.
Presumably, email would have helped those projects. Or maybe not. A recent survey by Salesforce revealed that 96% of CEOs blame poor communication and collaboration as one of the main reasons for workplace failure.
That is difficult to believe given how most people spend all day sending and receiving emails. But the truth is that although email is invaluable for direct communication, it doesn’t work well for collaboration. And communication and collaboration, though often confused, are different things.
An article in the Harvard Business Review summed up the importance of the distinction. “The frontier of human productive capacity today is the power of extended collaboration – the ability to work together beyond the scope of small groups. Today’s technologies have the potential to enable a very different level of business performance, but only when accompanied by a thoughtful redesign of the way your business is done.”
The emergence of the Cloud has accelerated that redesign and changed the way people go about business. Collaboration was recently identified (again by the Harvard Business Review) as the number one reason businesses are moving to the Cloud. The study estimates that 75% of businesses will have some IT functions in the Cloud by 2017.
Most cloud-based collaborative apps provide users with a single channel for all teamwork interactions including instant messaging, diaries and document management. Here are a few benefits of working in that way compared to using email:
1. Keep Track of Documents
There’s no need to worry about who has the latest version of a document. The up-to-date one is always to hand, not stuck on the computer of someone who has just gone on holiday or left the company. Companies get control over their information, as it is all in one place not spread across different computers.
2. Add New People in Real Time
If someone new joins the team or a project moves to another department, there’s no need to spend ages searching old emails to find the information they need.
3. Set and Keep Track of Tasks
If you are out of the office or in a meeting, you can set tasks for team members with follow-up reminders to ensure deadlines are met. You can see who is on top of their tasks and who is lagging behind. Everyone knows theirs and each other’s responsibilities and timetables, so there is total transparency and everyone is accountable.
4. Better Teamwork and Better Results
People can share ideas more quickly and easily, and do so in real time. They are always reacting to up-to-date information, rather than out-of-date information from old emails. This gives a greater sense of teamwork and encourages innovation. Also, new or junior team members are more likely to engage in a project and share their thoughts and expertise.
5. Cuts Email Traffic
As shown in the previous blog, fewer emails means greater productivity. Simple as that. Team collaboration tools such as Mitel MiCollab and MiTeam allow teams to work together regardless of location or device.