"Email is on the way out," says Thierry Breton, CEO and Chairman of Atos Origin, from the podium at one of the firm's CEO Innovation Press Conferences. A bold declaration indeed from Master Breton! Regardless of the accuracy of that near-irreverent sentiment on the world stage, there is little question that email is, in fact, on its way out at Atos Origin. Yesterday, the firm unveiled "its ambition to be a zero email company within three years" in an effort to combat "information pollution."
So what's Breton's rationale behind ridding his company of the world's most popular method of non-verbal communication? "Information pollution" is starting to become a drag on business, he suggests, where once the transfer of information facilitated better collaboration and insight. "We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives," Breton explains.
Atos consultants tell us that businesspeople receive an average of 200 emails each working day, with 18 percent of the deluge attributed to spam. As a result, the firm says, "Managers spend between 5 and 20 hours a week reading and writing emails."
That "information overload", Breton argues, is unacceptable. Accordingly his firm has already begun the intriguing process of transition from an email-based business community to other, more discerning IT platforms. "At Atos Origin we have set up collaboration tools and social community platforms, to share and keep track of ideas on subjects from innovation and Lean Management through to sales," says Breton. "Businesses need to do more of this—email is on the way out as the best way to run a company and do business."
However Atos chooses to go forward, Breton sees parallels between the fight against information pollution and its environmental cousin. "At Atos Origin we are taking action now to reverse this trend, just as organizations took measures to reduce environmental pollution after the industrial revolution," he says.
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Atos Origin sets out its ambition to be a zero email company within three years
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