Moving on from email


Investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein is using wikis, blogs, instant messaging, and other collaborative software tools to supplant email, according to an article in this week’s issue of BusinessWeek titled Email is So Five Minutes Ago. J.P. Rangaswami, Dresdner’s CIO, an ardent critic of email, says that in some cases use of these tools is resulting in project-related email being reduced by 75% and meeting times being halved. There is no question that email as a corporate communication tool is in fact more representative of communication breakdown. When a significant proportion of executives get literally hundreds of emails a day, it is hit-and-miss whether any one email will actually be read or answered, even with the best of will from the recipient. While email will not disappear for the foreseeable future, the problems with email overload and more are rapidly accelerating the uptake of collaborative software tools. For specific, focused applications, blogs and wikis are admirably suited. One of the most relevant applications, and where there is strong traction already, is in project management. There is defined scope, known yet diverse participants, and a need to make issues quickly and readily visible to all. These requirements are usually better addressed with collaborative software than with email. Expect to see email fairly rapidly shift out of favor as a core project management tool, now that there are simple, inexpensive, effective alternatives.