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Is Email Really Dying in the Enterprise?

By Ken Simpson | 2 minute read

The Financial Times recently wrote an article titled, “End email: Firms find a cure for inbox hell”, in which they declared — for the thousandth time in mainstream media since 1996 — that email is dying in the enterprise. The reasons sited for the death of email include privacy and productivity. Apparently, social networking technologies such as Yammer are going to replace email with something more productive; and paper notes will serve to make communications private once again.

Here’s the problem with this reasoning. “Email” in the context of Internet electronic mail is simply a collection of protocols for exchanging messages between parties over the Internet. Yammer and other systems serve the same function, except using different, less open (and often completely closed) protocols. Yammer is essentially the same as email, but implemented within a closed network, where greater control can be effected on the participants. But if you need to get a message to someone who isn’t participating in your private network – be it Facebook, Yammer, Twitter, or some other new system – email will always be the fallback.

My position is that email is a great platform on top of which rich collaboration tools can be built. For instance, Xobni implements an enterprise layer on top of email that pulls together all the information that might be relevant to whatever conversation you’re viewing in your mail client (Outlook, Gmail, etc.). With Xobni, you get to keep the universal acceptability and interoperability of email, while benefiting from integration with other data sources.

Systems like Yammer will have their place, but email is not going away any time soon. It will just get better.

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