Note: This is the second blog post in a series on email clearinghouses.
Every month there’s a blog, new app, new service, new productivity guru, or some other trigger that gets us to think, “Maybe this will help me tame the email beast and make sure that important stuff gets my attention.”
I try a lot of these services, whether it’s Priority Inbox, Gmail’s category labels, Gmail inbox, Boxer, Dispatch, Mailbox, Zero, or the myriad other choices. They all have great features but don’t address the underlying problem. It’s still one unregulated communication channel. It’s open to use by individuals, companies, automated systems, distribution lists, and pretty much everything. Its strength in ubiquity is also its Achilles heel.
All that being said, I would estimate that no more than 20% of people in any given company are masters of their email, whether it’s through the use of a particular app, productivity hack, structure methodology for how they work, or a deal with the devil. The other 80% struggle to keep up with the signals in the noise of email.
The impact is most acute when communications are associated with a specific business process or event. If someone on your IT team is late or misses a major incident triage session, that has measurable impact to the business. If a healthcare clinician is late in acknowledging information from a diagnostic team, that impacts timeliness and quality of care. If civil unrest prevents you from coordinating your resources in region in a timely manner, that can have dire consequences.
The solution turns out to be something that we’ve been doing in our personal lives to some extent – taking advantage of multiple communication channels – and applying them to daily operational routines in enterprises. It’s not enough to just take consumer concepts over the enterprise though; we have the opportunity to do better.
But that’s the topic of the next blog post in the series.
Next: There Are Alternatives to Email
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