Internal comms: Is social collaboration gaining traction over email?

During our Future of Business Communications webinar last week we ran a couple of live polls asking: which communication tools do you use at work every hour?, and...

Internal communications

During our Future of Business Communications webinar last week we ran a couple of live polls. The results of one was expected – but the other one was quite surprising.

During our discussion – which is online here if you’d like to listen to the recording – our expert panel, including Belinda Gannaway (Nixon McInnes), Amanda Ashenden (MWD Advisors) and Richard Hughes (Broadvision) – started by exploring the rise of email as a business tool. We cited it’s ease of use, versatility and ubiquity (i.e. crossing internal/external boundaries) and we analysed what it’s terrible at: facilitating efficient, timely collaboration, enabling user control (anyone can email you) and keeping a shared record.

As we began to look at the alternatives to email for internal communications, I asked our listeners a straight question: which communication tools do you use at work every hour?

The results of the on-screen poll (above) that came back were interesting. 100% of our audience used email every hour, with telephone a rather distant 46%. Impressively, 23% of our audience said they use an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) or wiki/Intranet every hour of their working day and, in the case of chat, this was even higher (see below) at 27%.

While this confirmed to us that email is still the ‘daddy’ of internal comms, social collaboration tools are clearly becoming established. Granted, ours was a small sample (we had around 100 registrations for the webinar) and the webinar title might have self-selected people with an interest in the latest internal comms trends – but the fact remains: they’re using these tools.

The second poll was rather less surprising in it’s results but still highlighted a massive problem for anyone keen to implement collaborative tools internally. We asked whether our audience’s organisations measure the cost or efficiency of their internal communications. It was a broad brush question with the point being: are you capturing metrics around internal comms?

Measuring Internal communications

The reply, as you can see, was an emphatic “no”, with the second placed answer being “don’t know”. Just 19% said that their organisations are measuring internal comms. This lack of measurement has been cited many times in – especially in relation to social business – and might explain why email continues to rule our business lives in spite of it’s shortcomings. Without having run this poll previously, though, you never know – that number may itself be an improvement on previous years.

Always good to end on a note of optimism!

Join me for the next webinar in our Future of Business Communications series, Integrating Collaboration with Key Business Systems, at 3pm on 5th November, which will be followed by A Practical Guide to the Mobile Revolution on 27th Nov.

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