As a company focused on information, we started out storing it, added sophisticated technology to protect it, and now help you secure it, and manage it.
One of the facts of any given day is that a human can only process so much information individually. Now, as a storage company, I guess that is something we better work on; but, for now anyway, we all have a very finite limit. For me, the idea is to take in only the information that I want. Unfortunately, I have found that others do not have the same objective – go figure. Their objective is to sell me something or tell me something. Sometimes we want (or need) to hear it – most of the time, we don’t. SPAM for example is one of those “efficiency busters.” SPAM (word origin is a Monty Python show btw) is being battled on a number of fronts and I will take up that topic for another time. There are, of course, some technology options here if we want to adopt them.
I wanted to talk today about a more Dilbert-esk topic of what I call C-SPAM or “Corporate SPAM.” C-SPAM are those annoying messages that those of us a larger companies get where people decide to not subset their distribution lists to folks that actually need to have a given piece of information and just send it to “ALL.” These are the messages we all get that announce that there will be a seminar at a facility 2000 miles away or that a parking lot will be paved at a building in another state. Many folks figure “why should I spend 5 minutes sub-setting my distribution – folks can just delete it.” They are also those emails that start out with a simple note on which you were copied and somehow turn into an online chat room with 47 new messages. My all time favorite is when one of those “accidental” mails comes through where the person didn’t even mean to send it. They can even be funny until everyone hits “reply all” and asks to be removed from the distribution list. Goes to the wise old proverb of EMAIL – assume all email is public.
To the point, I just don’t think corporations realize how much it hurts efficiency. Let’s look at a quick cost calculation. Since these mails come from internal “respected” senders like “HR Management”, or “Facility Operations” and don’t have V1@gra in the subject line – they actually need to be “processed” by everyone. Let’s assume it takes just 15 seconds open, glace at, process and delete an irrelevant Email – if we run out the cost for a company to “receive” one piece of C-SPAM. For every 1000 employees, the time wasted is 1000 * 0.25 minutes or 250 minutes => call it 4 hours for simplicity. For a company like EMC at roughly 25K employees it takes “us” 100 hours of “work” to delete just one piece of “all” mail.
Email is a great tool and has driven incredible efficiencies but I believe a key need for companies to categorize their information/communications and use – THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE EACH JOB.
I believe that there are really base 3 types of corporate communication:
- Information Push
- Information Pull
- Information Collaboration
Email is clearly the best “push” tool. I believe that well-indexed Web portals are the best “pull” tools. For example, instead of sending me an EMAIL 26 times a year saying I was paid (I guess I am trusting and believe it will happen) – just give me a portal so I can pull the information on demand. Both “Push” and “Pull” rely principally of the concept that the communication is one-to-many.
Much of what we want to do today, however, is to collaborate and share information for projects. What amazes me the most is how many companies still use Email to collaborate on projects. For collaboration, a tool like our eRoom (Hosted Service: or Product) is a must. People need to have a common repository for information where work can be linked, versioned, co-developed, shared, and searched across a single team. When I pull up a schedule or a plan, I want be confident that it is the latest version. I also want to have the workflow in place to get approvals (including sending Email), and help to automate and manage within a process.
If a company the size of mine uses the right systems and saves just 500 Emails per person per year that equates to 50,000 hours of productivity savings. Moreover, by using the right tools for the right job, people will simply be able to accomplish more with their information!