The Death of Email Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

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You can hear the drumbeats now - email is dead because social media and text messaging have effectively killed it. Kids don't email (only 'old fogies' do) said the New York Times. Mark Zuckerberg recently predicted that email would die because "it's too formal" and "adds a lot of friction and cognitive load". Tech analysts have been predicting its demise for a few years now. I couldn't disagree more.

First, take a look at the numbers
. Facebook has an impressive 640 million users. Twitter has 175 millionusers. The Big 3 Cloud Based email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo!) combine for 362 million users. And according to Radicati Group, there are 1.9 billion email users worldwide. Radicati also predicts that number will increase to 2.5 billion by 2014.

Clearly, email is still the leader. A recent survey by MarketTools, found that 96% of students and professionals said they expect their workplace email communication to increase or stay the same over the next five years. The same survey found that email was the most effective method of communication with colleagues (even beating face-to-face and IM).

Secondly, disruptive technologies don't kill their predecesors; they just change them. TV didn't kill radio, but it did change how it we used it. The same can be said with planes and trains. We still need trains because they do some things more efficiently that planes can (move crops, raw materials, etc.). And so does email. It moves documents and sensitive conversations about as well as any other option. There is a 'paper trail' and that will continue to be important, especially in our business life.

Integration with Email will make Email your communication hub. As our lines of communication expand, there will be a need for information consumers to have a 360-degree view of what is going on in their world. Yes, we will all expand our use of IM's, social media and mobile messaging, but it is doubtful we will abandon email. Even Mark Zuckerberg and Mark Beneioff, who have been beating the 'email is dead' drum the loudest, recognize that email is important to any communication strategy. Central to Facebook's new messaging service is an email address.

Email is becoming the hub of this multi-spoked beast. For years, my Outlook client allowed me to track emails, tasks, and appointments. Today, my Outlook client is fully integrated into my enterprise and my social life. Integration to Microsoft CRM 2011 gives me a view into enterprise customer records, third party data sources, and an internal knowledge base. SharePoint integration allows me work collaboratively on documents and projects. The Outlook Social Connector allows me to follow my contacts on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter. I can send a text, an IM, check social statuses and make a phone call - all from Outlook.

Post by: Brad Koontz, Customer Effective

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