A candid debate: email is dead! Long live email!
Jacques Pavlenyi 1000002W2A firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  social-business social email socbiz web20 e20 business
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by Jacques Pavlenyi, Market Segment Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions
To paraphrase a hackneyed quote, the reports of email's death have been greatly exaggerated. To be sure, alternative communication methods have grown rapidly recently, driven by a combination of demographic trends and technology advances. That's business speak for: “What's the matter with kids today? They don't like our company's email system. They want to text or Facebook their co-workers!” But lots of data suggests enterprise email inboxes aren't going away anytime soon. IDC estimated there were over 400 million corporate email boxes in 2010 alone, with continued growth through at least 2014 (source: "Worldwide Email Usage 2010-2014 Forecast: Email Adoption Remains Despite Continued Spamming and Rise in Social Networking Popularity," IDC, May 2010.)
How will the rapid growth of social
software transform the way we do business, and the evolution of
email? That's what today's announcements of the availability of Lotus Notes 8.5.3, Lotus Domino 8.5.3 and IBM XWork Server are about. Ed Brill has (natch!) already posted about this here and here, but I wanted to take a different spin on the news.
From all the data and discussions and feedback I've seen, one of the keys to email's future is integrating it with other, more social, capabilities. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and say that this integration is critical to making a successful social business transformation. If Digital Natives (as Forrester calls them) are the future, the present is still filled with information workers who defined their success with email. Workplace cultural assimilation is a two-way street. Just as Digital Natives influence experienced workers, those same Digital Natives will have to incorporate email in their work style just to survive their new workplace culture. As Sandy Carter, our Vice President of Sales and Social Business Evangelism says, “Culture eats strategy for lunch”. In other words, it takes a long time to change behavior.
Email's evolution is also affecting, and is affected by, the growth of the Cloud. Cloud-based email services (like LotusLive Notes) have enjoyed rapid growth over the past year. But whether enterprises are looking at on premises or cloud-based email, this integration is still top of mind. As I read in a recent MWD Advisors survey of enterprises considering cloud-based email, most of those surveyed expect that email will not disappear. Instead, it will remain as a primary collaboration tool, or integrate with other collaboration capabilities like instant messaging and social software.
Gartner recently wrote about how IBM has been considering these trends: “Notes and Domino Next: A Glimpse into IBM's Collaboration Future” (free registration required). We're starting to turn these insights into real solutions for our clients. We've already started with social calendaring; since 2010 Lotus Notes and Lotus Live Notes can sync with and share calendars through Tungle.me. You can interact with your professional networks like LinkedIn. You can use a GoogleMaps widget to turn live text in an email into a live map.
And this is where today's announcements take it to the next level.
Get Social with your inbox
With the release of Lotus Notes 8.5.3, IBM delivers additional social capabilities directly into the familiar Notes users' experience. Enjoy free entitlements to two of IBM Connections more popular features, Profiles and Files. I'm an avid user of our internal deployment of IBM Connections, so I'm particularly excited by getting instant and convenient access to these features right from my Lotus Notes sidebar. This is on top of the many existing integrations with Lotus Notes that we already enjoy: IBM Connections Profiles business cards, IBM Connections Activities, IBM Sametime, and Lotus Quickr.
What does this really mean? More than ever, you can socialize skills, interests, organizational structure and current work efforts for others to discover and benefit from. By socializing the content you create, you can reduce and avoid bulky emails. It's key to keeping dynamic content from quickly turning into outdated and hard-to-find attachments.
Be a Mobile hero, and protect company assets
Ed Brill recently blogged about IBM mobile collaboration leadership. These announcements extend that leadership with new capabilities in Lotus Notes 8.5.3 Traveler. IBM further embraces the Android platform with support for Android 3.x devices and tablets. Support is also added for Symbian3 devices.
You can now protect corporate data with partial wipe support for Lotus Notes Traveler data on iOS devices. Key corporate data can be eliminated from your iOS device should it be lost, stolen or if the employee leaves your employ – without sacrificing users' personal data. Watch productivity soar when employees can use their favorite device at work as well as home. Oh, and if you see me at Lotusphere 2012, just ask me to show you how I'm using Traveler today on my iPhone I love it!
Social Applications made easy: build them quicker, run them faster.
With Lotus Domino 8.5.3, IBM delivers improved application performance and scalability, with an enhanced user experience. Improved IBM XPages technology support for industry standard web application models makes it easier to bring applications to mobile devices. And with the new IBM XWork Server, developers have an even more cost-effective and easier-to-consume licensing model to develop and deploy applications, especially for smaller enterprise or departmental deployments.
Just think: you can now build powerful and compelling social applications that weave social content into the application experience, putting valuable insights and knowledge into the hands of users for better, faster decision making.
“The IBM XWork Server allows us to offer our IdeaJam and IQJam products to a much broader base of organizations at a price point that is extremely competitive. Prior to having the XWork Server it was much more difficult to sell our solutions to customers who were not invested in Lotus Domino. The XWork Server is exactly what Elguji needs to grow our social business offerings." - Gayle Elgort, President & CEO, Elguji Software, LLC:
I hope you can join us for an October 12 webcast on The Brainyard, “The future of email is social” . Go online to register for free. We will discuss in more detail where we think the evolution of email will take us.
Don't wait until October 12. Tell us what you think. What will the future hold for email?