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E-mail: The next thing of the past?

Is email outdated?

At least one technology CEO in France thinks so, and is working to phase out employee email within in 18 monhs. 

Thierry Breton, who is the chief executive of Atos and former minister of finance in France, argued in a recent speech in the United Kingdom that 90 percent of staff time spent on emails is wasted. He wants his workers to speak to each other by phone or in person, or to use instant messaging and Facebook-type interfaces for online communication instead.

"It is not normal that some of our fellow employees spend hours in the evening dealing with their emails," Breton said, according to a Nov. 28 report in the Telegraph. "The deluge of information will be one of the most important problems a company will have to face. It is time to think differently."

Breton has already adopted the new method for himself: "If people want to talk to me, they can come and visit me, call or send me a text message," said the 56-year-old exec, according to a Nov. 30 article in the Daily Mail. "Emails cannot replace the spoken word."

Atos is one of the largest IT companies in the world, employing about 80,000 people.

Breton said the zero e-mail policy could be in place within 18 months.

What do you think? Is email on the way out?

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Nov 30, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Reader Comments

Mon, Dec 5, 2011

Suggest that we start with Powerpoint presentations before banning e-mail.

Sat, Dec 3, 2011 KenF ( Sacramento, CA

I think it’s a bit short sighted to assume that eliminating email all together in preference of a phone call is a reasonable trade. The issue is the intent of email has been clouded. Consider this: An Immediate decision or critical event notification is required, that is a Phone Call. For information sharing and long term collaboration, that an Email. For quick collaboration and knowledge sharing, use Instant Messaging. As a C-level executive, if your team isn’t using this method of communication, then set a standard, train personnel, and equip them for success. Otherwise you will never dig your way out of the information overload hole.

Fri, Dec 2, 2011

Forcing his people to communicate more slowly whike taking notes for later reference? Then they'll have to hibernate for a while to type up what they wrote down to deliver to other people who need that information. Can you even buy carbon paper in 2011? Lots of opportunity for the international postal organizations, paper and carbon paper manufacturers. Maybe he can convince his customers and business partners to give up emails, too. Won't the lawyers love the extra billing they'll do because of this policy? What does this company do, something inherintly french like making wine? I see a failed experiment forming. Buy, Hold or Sell this little experiment? SELL!

Fri, Dec 2, 2011

Email will be gone right after they institute the paperless office and they abolish cc'ing the world, irrevelant meetings and the use of printers that make multiple copies for redundant files. It doesn't matter what you call it electronic communications email or twitter or whatever. Someone higher than you will have a policy that you have to respond to their requests immediately regardless of where they are you are. And at 9PM you will be finally trying to get your work done becausee your cubicle has become the next call center. The next pendulum move will be to punish employees for talking to each other too much.

Fri, Dec 2, 2011 GimmeABreak

Get real, They will NEVER replace email. Work email is auditable written proof that someone said/did/intend to do something. Personal email is for topics that are not relevant to work discussions. FB is too open to blogs, comments, defamation. The moment when 60guys line up to talk with the boss, this issue will be a bad experimental drug memory.

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