Email as a collaboration tool

Despite having access to a wide variety of collaboration tools, email and IM continue to be the tools I use most often,  in particular I struggle to use collaborative workspaces efficiently.  Why do I keep using email?

  1. It works great offline
  2. I can keep an offline replica on all of my PCs and devices and they all sync up nicely so I don’t need to worry about which machine I use.
  3. It is well integrated with my calendar and contacts
  4. It handles attachments well
  5. It works well in the background, it’s very rare I have to wait for it to do something
  6. I know that everyone I work with will have access to it and know how to use it
  7. Every email has its own initial access control list
  8. Good support for groups (distribution lists)

I use Lotus Notes so there are some downsides:

  1. No RSS support yet
  2. Personal information management workflows are not well supported, for example there is currently no equivalent to the GTD add-in for outlook

However in both of these cases I believe that IBM really understand what’s needed, its just a case of waiting for the next release.

There are many things about wikis, blogs and team spaces that I really like,  but none of them offers all the advantages of email,  so right now they all are useful complements to my collaboration system, rather than at the core of it.

For more interesting posts on this topic, check out these posts:

Permanent Link to Email- The Good Enough Collaboration Tool

The Future of E-mail

Email is critical to Enterprise 2.0 and Office 2.0

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Here are some potential GTD Templates for Notes.
    Brett Philip’s WorkSmart Database (not integrated w/ email)…
    OpenNTF’s GTD Template (only on a .1 release)…
    and then there is Eric Mack’s soon to be released:

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, I did try Brett’s database but it didn’t work for me because of the lack of integration with email. I have been waiting for Eric’s database for years :-). Right now I am playing a waiting game and hoping that activities in the next version of Notes will meet my needs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think IBM and Microsoft both realise this. Email is not dead, nor is it going to in my opinion. We like it, its personal to us, the folder structure reflects our way of working as individuals. I’m looking forward to the next generation of email clients that group related emails, IM’s, office documents and others into a threaded easily accessible pool. I’ve never been a teamroom fan and all the projects, bar none, have always been email and IM biased for collaboration.

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