I remember the excitement I felt when email first landed in my lap – literally, on a Dell notebook – it was some version of Lotus. Soon, I’m hoping, it will be gone in relation to much of the work I need to get done. When recently working on a major site redevelopment a Wiki did so much more for the team in terms of communication – we all edited content in real-time, in the same place, without any confusion in relation to versions. It made a significant task so much more productive.
BusinessWeek touches on the utility of blogs and Wikis as a replacement to email. They start by going down the old route that most of the email you get is a waste of time: “Indeed, the onetime productivity wonder has turned into a maddening time waster. Despite the brawniest corporate filters, more than 60% of what swarms into corporate in-boxes is spam.”
That isn’t why I don’t like email anymore. Its more about what I do like about the virtual collaboration space of the Wiki. “ Among them: private workplace wikis (searchable, archivable sites that allow a dedicated group of people to comment on and edit one another’s work in real time); blogs (chronicles of thoughts and interests); Instant Messenger (which enables users to see who is online and thus chat with them immediately rather than send an e-mail and wait for a response); RSS (really simple syndication, which lets people subscribe to the information they need); and more elaborate forms of groupware such as Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT ) SharePoint, which allows workers to create Web sites for teams’ use on projects.”
So far, companies have invested 95% of their spending in business processes, according to Social Life of Information author and former Xerox Corp. (XRX ) Palo Alto Research Center director John Seely Brown. A scant 5% has gone toward supporting ways to mine a corporation’s human capital. That’s why fans say the beyond-e-mail workplace will become a key competitive advantage. In the global race for innovation, it’s not as much about leveraging what’s inside your factories’ machines as what’s in your employees’ heads.
It’s worth a read.