CEO of large IT company bans internal email to improve productivity

Chief Executive Thierry Breton realised that the 40 year old email system at place today is not the adequate tool for the staff of his 75.000 staff at Atos SA and plans to ban internal email within 18 months, upgrading it to a social software (like Refinder).

Thierry Breton, a former French finance minister, read the signs of todays business and future work practices. Employees spend hours each day working on emails - up to late evening hours:

"It is not normal that some of our fellow employees spend hours in the evening dealing with their emails," he said. ... The email is no longer the appropriate (communication) tool."

A better suited way to handle internal communication are online tools supporting communication within projects and teams, so Atos will be using instant messaging as well as a collaborative "Facebook-style" tool. The new steps are covered in a Wall Street Journal profile

Employees will move on from email to the new tools within 18 months. Statistics to back up his decision: a study deemed only 15 percent of internal emails at Atos "useful." 

Personal communication is one channel amongst many. In an interview with the Telegraph he is quoted saying

"If people want to talk to me, they can come and visit me, call or send me a text message," said the 56-year-old. "Emails cannot replace the spoken word."

Studies that were cited by us at Gnowsis report of up to 45% of daily work being repetitive information management work, much related to email, a number that is reported repeatedly in different schemes: hours spent reading and writing emails, looking for the "current" version of a document, etc. Email overload exists, and integrating systems to unite distributed project information is a key tactic.

Thanks to Franz Jachim finding this at TheVerge.


Interesting and to some extent valid comment from the Gartner blogs, why a "zero email" policy will fail: