Chris J Powell

I am not the only one confronted by the email pollution

In looking for a worthy topic for my first real post since my “Epic” return to the blogosphere yesterday I thought I would revisit a post that I did a couple of weeks ago regarding the 25 days that I spend each year checking, responding and deleting emails…yes that is right I said it, 25 days.  Now what would you do if you could recover 600 hours of productivity in a year?  Well European IT services company Atos Origin declared intentions to completely phase out internal email operations within the next 3 years.


Now imagine the effect of even facing an increased productivity of adding even 25 hours per year back for each of Atos’s 50,000 employees…that translates to more than 1.25 Million recovered hours! 1.25 MILLION man hours recovered from taking out the back and forth ata boy emails back and forth internally!  Assuming that the global average employee at Atos (I did a spot check on to come up with this number) $25000 that is a potential recovery of just over $3 Billion.  Now is it realistic to assume that every hour saved from diverting email to other mediums will result in 100% recovery of the time…no but the fact that there are huge additional benefits to the organization as whole to divert from email…well even saving just 1 hour per employee per year would have a net effect of increasing sales by over  $1 Billion…that is a worthy investment!

Email as a form of communications celebrates its 40th birthday in 2011 so it is a full 1 year older than I am but as I realized during the great assessment and design of Krispy 2.0 over the last two weeks the CEO of Atos, Theirry Breton cited email as being one of the greatest contributors to “information pollution” according to an article on  Many assumptions about what will replace the eldest of all Electronic Communications mediums in the IT world include IM, Social Media (ie Facebook, Chatter etc) and with the general acceptance of these new ways of communicating in the consumer world it is likely to be embraced by more companies whole scale in the future.

Does this mean that every IT leader should dump their Exchange Servers today?  I would say no, but in the world of Enterprise 2.0 that I will be focusing on in the coming months…it is very much so the type of value added service that IT can provide to the different Lines of Business that need the support and guidance of a well rounded Technology Leader.


Some other factors that were presented in the GigaOM article include:


  • Business Automation Tools:  Automating more of the mundane tasks for today’s knowledge works can be as simple as implementing a more effective BPM (Business Process Management Suite) that builds out automated emails,  instant messages and other actionable messages and can greatly reduce the back and forth email tag that happens.  This renewed interest is great for a process oriented guy like me that feels utterly overwhelmed by the chaos left by actions that do not follow any type of order.
  • Enterprise Portals:  Yes the Intranet is back and it is really, really bad ass…if it is built right.  The same amount of effort should be put into the internal Portal as what is put into the building and marketing of the Corporate Website that is customer facing.  The power of wikis, microblogs and other opportunities leave a very real opportunity for organizations to leverage the internal mind share to reduce duplication of efforts and waste.
  • Semantic Web Technologies:  Much like Unified Communications the promise of Semantic Web Technologies have been long promised but the concept is poised to make its mark very very soon.  The massive amounts of unstructured data that resides in corporate servers and generated by internal communications can be sorted, handled and searched for by several Go To market technologies today.


Email is not dead, with more than 294 Billion emails sent each and every day (wow…I don’t feel so bad about the 1100 per day that I typically get) it will take time for any medium to replace and if their is any chance for the venerable communications medium to reinvent itself it must do so fast before the real time “Facebook Post” complete with its likes and comment options make it completely obsolete but in many ways…I look forward to reclaiming the 600 hours or 36000 minutes that I waste on email and in turn investing that time into much more productive endeavors.


Today marks my return not just to work after 9 days of not thinking of anything beyond where I will pull up a deck chair and relax for the day but I really feel differently this time around.  I don’t often take a week off (at least by choice – the last time was July 2010 when I had a battle with Pneumonia) and the disconnected time while made me twitch more than once or twice…was well worth it.




Chris J Powell



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