Will Online Collaboration Make Email Redundant?

Email has been around long before the Internet as we know it, but its days may be numbered as a growth in online collaboration and cloud computing tools could make email redundant. And with the majority of emails being opened on mobile devices it is easy to see why.

Combing through emails takes time out of a busy schedule. The average employee is spending more than two hours per day responding to emails, according to a study by McKinsey Global Institute conducted in 2012. That’s about forty hours of wasted productivity every month, for each employee. This can add up to a lot of lost time for any size company.

The way people communicate has changed considerably in the last ten years. The old way of seeking input on a project by sending emails to an online distribution list and managing a stream of responses is becoming a thing of the past. Organisations of all sizes, from small start-ups to large enterprise companies, are embracing online collaboration tools with open arms.

Online collaboration tools are much more efficient than sending emails back and forth. By collaborating online team members can review, comment and make any necessary changes while maintaining an audit trail and keeping track of revisions. It’s also more secure. Access rights can limit who can review or make changes. Project managers can be notified if users don’t take action or complete the required tasks by the due date. Plus, depending on capabilities and user restrictions, participants can pass electronic notes around and even have public or private sideline conversations with each other. Also, online collaboration tools can stream audio and video conversions together with colleagues working in different locations, organisations or even on different types of devices like laptops, desktops and tablets.

Will online collaboration really replace email? Given the number of people relying on email as their primary communication tool, it is hard to fathom its complete elimination. But, that’s was what many people thought about the fax machine too. When was the last time you sent a fax? One thing is certain, there are a host of IT solutions that are changing the way we communicate and interact with each other.

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