“No email” policies will not last, says Gartner

Bans on internal email will be short-lived and will never reach mainstream adoption, according to Gartner's latest Hype Cycle for social software.

The proliferation of social collaboration tools has prompted a number of organisations to pursue "no email" policies. The most notable example is perhaps IT services provider Atos, which pledged in 2011 to abolish internal email.

But according to Gartner analyst Jeffrey Mann, the trend will be short-lived and most businesses will not – and should not – eliminate internal email completely.

“Although the concept of no-email is provocative and attractive on many levels, a narrow focus on eliminating the use of this one tool is unlikely to have a long life,” says Mann in the Hype Cycle report.

Despite the growth of social software, the number of emails employees send to each other is fact on the rise. Only a minority of organisations are likely to benefit from banning email completely, Mann predicts, and those that do will face a potentially distracting “battle.”

Mann praises vendors such as Harmon.ie and Calinda Software that integrate existing email platforms into other collaboration and social tools.

“Although we do not expect that enterprises will focus on eliminating email as a goal in itself, the deeper implications of adopting a more flexible and predicts that these kinds of approaches will influence businesses for some time,” says Mann.

Rather than pursuing a blanket ban on email, Mann advises that businesses identify business processes where email is unnecessary or unhelpful and provide better alternatives. 

“Organisations can use no-email as a rallying call from leadership to focus attention on the needs and benefits for cultural change to achieve real productivity benefit,” Mann wrote, but stressed that reducing email volume is not a goal in itself. Instead, it should be the result of an efffective collaboration software strategy.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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