Firms mull death of email at top IT fair
HANOVER, Germany (AFP) – “You want to get rid of email? Good luck with that,” smiles Tom Reuner, an IT analyst at British firm Ovum.
But at the CeBIT, the world’s biggest high-tech fair in the northern German city of Hanover, some firms are considering doing just that, as studies show that workers spend nearly one third of their day sorting through emails.
The French firm Atos, for example, plans to shift its internal communications onto a Facebook-style social networking platform by 2014.
Displaying its “Zero Email” system at the CeBIT, Atos, led by former French finance minister Thierry Breton, has said it wants to rid society of emails.
Breton has even compared the project to “reducing environmental pollution after the industrial revolution.”
Atos project leader Robert Shaw told AFP the firm was “on track in moving our organisation towards a collaborative work environment not based on emails by 2014.”
There are “already more than 20,000 staff” on the internal “BlueKiwi” system, explained Shaw.
The most committed ones “do not use internal emails any more, since they collaborate together and get their work done in a more enjoyable and effective way,” he added.
Atos believes that by changing the way staff communicate with each other internally, a firm’s productivity could be boosted by as much as 20 per cent.
This chimes with a study carried out by the US consulting firm McKinsey which showed that the average office worker spent around 28 per cent of their time reading, writing and sorting tens or hundreds of emails each day.
Atos is not the only firm trying to deal with what many regard as the plague of emails.