Email is #1 for Comms at Work over Social Technologies

Last week I read this article in Wired with interest “Email Is Crushing Twitter, Facebook for Selling Stuff Online”. From where I stand the same can be said for email in the business context. Email is not going anywhere. It remains rightfully the most popular and preferred communication tool for employees and their IT managers alike.

Email is Stronger Than Ever

Email’s popularity continues to grow with various surveys showing that your email application – whether it’s Outlook or a mobile client - is where most of us spend our working day. It is where work gets done. Where decisions get made. Where sales get closed. And it’s universal – we all have an email address (often more than one). It's how we identify ourselves too even on our social networks – our digital or online passport. You may not get hold of me on my phone or get an instant reply to your DM or comment – but you know I'll see your email.

Why? Well aside from the fact we are used to using it – it has been a ubiquitous part of all our everyday business lives for perhaps 20 years – it's trusted, reliable, mobile and enables us to save or archive our conversations and the files we most value.

For all the talk and excitement about ‘enterprise social networks’ like Chatter or Jive, email will remain the primary choice for communication in the enterprise. There are compelling use cases for these social technologies within the organisation of course and I am happy to admit that email is not without its faults – its efforts at collaboration, including Distribution Lists and Public Folders, in particular. But just as email remains a popular and effective tool in the consumer space, so too email is at the heart of every organisation’s communication strategy.  And there is space for further innovation.

I work at Mimecast – so I would say that wouldn’t I? Email is part of our DNA. But the truth is we see this reality every day. It explains why our customers are so intent on working with us to ensure their email is always there for them 24x7. Why their end-users also want that reassurance.  Email matters to them.  Increasingly that is extending to recognising that email is not just how they communicate but where their most valued information lives – email contains the corporate memory of a growing majority of businesses.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the transformative power of social technologies and I see a place for enterprise social networks, just as we have all found a place for Twitter, Facebook et al – but social needs to take its seat behind the communications older brother that is email.