Emails have held the vast majority of business communications for years now but slowly we are seeing larger companies move away from emails and deciding to use fast instant messaging services instead. Some companies feel that emails constantly flooded with messages make it hard to communicate and collaborate via email.
In January this year social media giant, Facebook, announced that they had released Facebook at Work, a communication app designed for business. All the information kept within the application is “secure, confidential and completely separate” from personal Facebook profiles. Facebook’s aim is to try and make it easier for workers to undergo collaborative work without the hassle for waiting for people to reply to emails. The application has many of the same features as the standard Facebook including News Feed, Messaging, Groups etc. but is completely separated from your personal account. All this can be done on the original platform but this would mean work colleagues could gain access to your personal life, separating work and play.
This has posed a threat to LinkedIn, the business focused social platform, which also announced earlier this year that they would also be releasing their own application to connect workers. It wouldn’t be separated from their normal platform as it is already business focused, meaning there is no need to have to separate applications downloaded.
It’s clear to see that both Facebook and LinkedIn are trying to create a platform that makes it easier to communicate between work colleagues and encouraging collaborative work. There have been platforms and applications out there for a couple years now such as Yammer and Jive, but the uptake hasn’t been great. But this doesn’t mean that Facebook’s and LinkedIn’s fate at attempting an enterprise social software won’t be integrated into businesses in the same way. The advantage they both have is that people are already familiar with the platforms and this familiarity means companies are going to have to use less time and money training people how to use this software.
You could argue that constant message and group notifications would be highly distracting and actually make work less productive, but people believe that it will increase productivity by the worker being able to opt out of irrelevant email conversations so they can then free up time.
So what does this potentially mean for email? I think some companies are too reliant on email systems to simply move all of their communications over to an enterprise social software. If anything I feel that companies will start to use these platforms to communicate with workers within the workplace but then still use email to communicate with customers and contractors outside of their work.