Friday, June 3, 2011

Email Usage Drops 28% in Past 12 Months!

By Matt Forcey

A recent study by Nielsen, which focused on how Americans spend their time online, unexpectedly found that email usage has dropped by 28% over the last year.  Since we’re certainly not communicating any less, what are people doing as an alternative?  Not surprisingly, the data show that social networking use increased by 43% over the same time period.  A separate analysis determined that Mobile Internet use has also increased dramatically. 

The research seems to focus more on Americans' personal online usage, and not how they are using the Internet at work.  But what can we infer from this information as it relates to our business communications?  With mobile technologies like smart phones blurring the lines between work and home, it’s not long before our personal habits influence our work M.O.  As these changes take hold, they will certainly have an effect on our content management strategies.  Tracking and archiving email for future discovery is a substantial portion of a content management systems workload.  If these privileged communications are now moving outside of the corporate sphere of control, into disparate social networking and instant messaging tools, an organizations ability to manage their intellectual capital is greatly attenuated.

Ask yourself… how do you communicate with your coworkers?  Do your information systems support a 9-5 workforce, or is there an expectation from employees of having access to information anywhere at anytime?  Is your workforce centralized or is it becoming more distributed? 

Fortunately, many organizations are beginning to understand the opportunities these new communication channels provide to their business and their employees.  Realizing that communication, like water, is going to take the path of least resistance, astute companies are providing their employees with social media tools (internal corporate social networks, a common instant messenger) that are integrated with the organization’s information management system.  The information workers get the communication tools that support the way they work, while at the same time the company is able to track and archive appropriate communications much in the same way they do with email.  Additional gains in employee productivity from the implementation of an integrated communication and content management system should not be overlooked.

Read the full report from Nielsen: