Social mail: It’s not an oxymoron, it’s the future
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Venkatesh Raman, IBM Competitive Marketing Strategist
@exultvenkat

For several years, most businesses have relied and still depend on email to communicate corporate information both internally and externally. Suppose you read an interesting business article online and wanted to share it with your team  – would you share it via email or enterprise social networks (ESN)?

According to Radicati Group (Email Statistics Report, 2013-2017), “Business email accounts total 929 million mailboxes in 2013,. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of about 5% over the next four years, and reach over 1.1 billion by the end of 2017.”

There are general misconceptions about enterprise social networking such as:

  • ESN is “Facebook for the enterprises” or “Twitter for the enterprises”
  • ESN is a definite replacement for e-mail
  • ESN is often referred to both external (customer, supplier and partners engagement) and internal (employee collaboration and engagement)
  • ESN is one more add-on communication channel

I strongly believe those connotations are misleading in the context of enterprise social networking. So what is ESN? ESN spans across tools and technologies within enterprises to share knowledge, identify experts and collaborate with virtual/remote teams worldwide irrespective of their location, departments, business units, devices, etc. with enterprise-grade security features.

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In this digital arena, we are undergoing a dramatic cultural change in terms of our business communication across organizations around the globe. Today, e-mail is the most widely used tool for business communication due to its existence for almost two decades, but the rise of enterprise social networks provides a great opportunity for global organizations to collaborate and share information irrespective of time zone differences and devices.

 

McKinsey Global Institute (MGIs) estimates suggest that “by fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25 percent.”

 

Thus, organizations have to find ways to embrace these social tools to improve further on business communication overall.

Email inadequacies

Despite the following inadequacies of email, it’s well rooted and widespread in corporate and , – internal as well as external:

  • Email is a powerful business communication tool for individual and small group of people only
  • Email holds a vast amount of corporate knowledge in its inbox, folders and sent items
  • Email doesn’t suit for geographically dispersed and virtual teams communication
  • This is evident from the recent proliferation of social networks in enterprises that facilitates internal and external collaboration to find experts, share knowledge and connect in real-time.

Future is Social Mail

According to IDC (The Future of Email Is Social), “The future of email is social, and the future of social business clearly includes email as a key part of its feature set. The new social email provides both a powerful accelerator for social adoption and the backdrop for relief from email fatigue. Socially enabled email has already started to move the enterprise.”

The recent proliferation of enterprise social networks has enabled global organizations to become a knowledge powerhouse to share information across departments, boundaries, devices etc. No doubt, in the future, social will not replace email by any means but it will complement it.

So, what is Social Mail? Social Mail is the seamless integration of all your collaboration tools in one place, where and when you want them. It’s also about allowing users to communicate freely outside the boundaries of a traditional email client and having access anytime and anywhere — on a PC, a phone, a tablet, the desktop and the cloud.

IBM Notes and Domino 9.0 Social Edition is the only social mail offering in the market, from the maker of IBM Connections, the market leader in enterprise social software.

As more and more Facebook/Instagram/Vine generation users join the corporate workforce, email will primarily be used for sending alerts/notifications about content updates in the enterprise social networks sphere.


Social mail is sure to be a hot topic at IBM Connect 2014 in Orlando, January 26 – 30.  See what sessions have already been announced:

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Announcing: First round of accepted IBM Connect sessions

Connect 2014 Sessions: The list is getting longer

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