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The Reign of Email. How Will It End?

By Mary / Mar 27, 2015

Enterprise communication, collaboration and knowledge management markets are being deeply reshaped by consumer experiences.

As consumers, we are sending and receiving fewer and fewer emails. We’re opting for communication over social networking sites, instant messaging (IM), and mobile messaging (which our Chief Evangelist, Alexis Smirnov, predicts will be the primary form of communication between businesses and consumers in this post).

Yet, email remains the primary form of communication for enterprises. According to a Radicati Group 108 billion emails were sent and received in 2014. That number will jump to 139 billion by 2018. Hours of our working days will continue to be used reading, writing and sorting email.

However, IDG Enterprise’s 2014 report shows that work teams are being resourceful, and using social tools with or without the permission of their IT departments – from common technologies like Skype and Dropbox to CRM and financial management software.

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2014 Consumerization of IT in the enterprise report by IDG Enterprise

The parallels between our enterprise reality and social networked world are converging, and many of the “rules”, habits and capabilities on social platforms are finding their way into enterprise products.

AppHelp has been on Slack for several months, and in that short time, Slack has nearly replaced email for us. It’s products like Slack and others, which I’ll list below, that are successfully erupting our dependency on the Inbox monarchy.

WHO THREATENS EMAIL’S REIGN?

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Here are two hand fulls of products that succeed at responding to the needs of today’s agile work teams, surpassing email in the following main categories:

  • Team communication
  • Document creation, editing and annotation
  • Project management
  • Meetings
  • Knowledge curation
  • Design-related collaboration

Product: Slack
Killer Feature: Communication

With email, it’s easy to lose track of conversations and time-consuming to piece together fragmented information from our inboxes. With Slack’s wide breadth of service integrations (including our messaging SDK, SupportKit) teams can bring all their communication needs to one easy and fun-to-use platform, with powerful search and archiving capabilities. You can even integrate your very own Bender bot to fetch you the best memes, GIFs, and images from the internet to make your conversations even more expressive.

Users can create and participate in multiple community and topic-themed channels to broadcast messages to each other. Slack’s home page quote is not a gimmick. It really does change the way you communicate.

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Our “Banter” channel on Slack

Product: Google Drive/Quip 
Killer feature: Document-based annotation

Sending email attachments back and forth through email gets messy fast and file names can start taking on ridiculous versionings, like “proposal v2 good revised NEW 11-15-06.doc”. Solutions like Quip and Drive have revolutionized document review threads with the ability to easily handle attachments flying back and forth, and making real-time collaboration and  knowledge sharing easier than ever for teams.

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Product: Asana/Trello/Basecamp
Killer feature: Tasks and project management

Instead of limiting yourself to a subject line to notify people of a Status Update, project management software like BascampAsana and Trello make managing to-dos, file-sharing, team messaging, and project tracking, visual, organized and interactive.

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Product: Skype/Google Hangouts:
Killer feature: Meetings

Email lacks the emotive quality of face-to-face conversation that can be core to holding effective meetings. With free products like Skype and Google Hangouts/Hangouts on Air, features like live video conferencing and screen-sharing, make it easier for users to convey their messages with less chance of misinterpretation that can often occur through the written word.

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Product: Reveal/Evernote
Killer feature: Knowledge curation

Products like Evernote, Pinterest, and Reveal are responding to the problem of information overload by giving individuals the ability to cut through the clutter and capture and collect the content that is relevant and meaningful to them. Curation and the power to handpick what matters to us in the context of our industry and business are essential to enterprise knowledge management, empowering employees to easily discover, collect and share the most relevant content.

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Product: InVision
Killer feature: Design-related collaboration

As user experience becomes more and more integral to our digital and physical lives, products like InVision offer powerful prototyping, interface-testing, and simple feedback loops, that are helping teams deliver beautiful design experiences to their users, while making the process of working with multiple people, intuitive and seamless.

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Source: Wired

MAKING KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT BETTER WITH CURATION

The reign of email will end not by a single system replacing it. It will be supplanted by a multitude of interoperable tools providing a superior alternative to key use-cases. The way these enterprise tools will work will be shaped by consumer online services.

With Reveal, we are taking what the web and social media has done for consumers, into the knowledge management space. We’ve created Reveal to give teams a better way to grow and learn from each other, by making it easy to capture and share content from their enterprise or the web!

It is through capturing and collecting only the content that matters and having intuitive ways to collaborate on it, that we can build better organizational knowledge and nurture healthier, more cohesive work teams.

Create your very own Reveal team today! Join here, free!

Thank you to Alexis Smirnov for contributing to this post.