Software developer Exformatics have abolished internal emails.
Inefficiency and lack of knowledge sharing put more emphasis on
social media, mobile applications and digital workflows and tasks.
New Year's resolutions normally concerns exercise, weight loss and
a farewell to bad habits.
At Exformatics, January saw an end to the long electronic email
conversations, an ocean of more or less irrelevant cc emails and
short, untimely reminders via the disliked form of
The software company, specialising in solutions for knowledge
sharing, will reward the employees that are able to keep fingers
away from the send-button.
"We spend a disproportionate amount
of time reading, contemplating and answering emails, that could
have been dealt with far more rapidly and more efficiently face to
face, in the activity stream or via the designated task concept in
our intranet solution. We want to get rid of internal emails.
Externally, we have to use email for communicating with customers
and suppliers - at least for now," Morten Marquard, CTO in
The substitute for internal emails is activity streams - the business oriented
equivalent of statuses in e.g. Facebook, Google+ and other social
media. The activity stream is central in the solution for
intelligent Enterprise Content and information Management that is
used by the employees. Instead of filling up individual inboxes
with notes, questions, tasks, these can be shared on a specific
activity, case or project. This way, employees with already full
schedules get rid of context switching and interruptions from email
"To use a cliché, we have taken our own medicine. But we must show
that communication can be more structured and targeted. In our
experience, too many emails can be categorised somewhere between
FYI and actual tasks. Now everyone in the organisation demands more
efficient communication at the right time and in the right context
so the recipient has no doubts about what is expected from the
sender," Morten Marquard continues.
Number of emails goes down, quality of content
During the socalled #Noemail January, the employees in the
software development company has managed to decrease the total
number of emails by 55%. At the same time, the number of posts in
the activity stream rose by less than that, putting emphasis on the
greater focus on the information put forward to the
The largest single decrease was found in the management. CTO
Morten Marquard managed to cut the amount of emails to 1/3 compared
to November 2011.
"We were unable to understand how the amount of internal emails
had become so huge. Our own project management solution leverages
built-in platforms for communicating, but too much communication
lives in a parallel world to the project management - in the email
applications. This way, much better information is delivered in the
right context, and our experiment shows, that the amount of less
irrelevant information is smaller," Morten Marquard says.
Interviews with the employees show that the workers were skeptical
when the #noemail January campaign was announced. But 31 days with
more consideration before hitting the 'send' button have proven
"The reactions went from skeptical to applauding. Emails used to
take too much time and several regards the unread emails in Outlook
as stressful. If this campaign can help eliminating that feeling,
then our work is done," CTO Morten Marquard says.
The activity streams are also a central part of the Anywhere app -
Exformatics' ECM app for Android and iOS devices.
The results of the no email-campaign in
The total amount of emails sent went from 4.668 in november 2011
to 2.170 in January.
In the same period, notes and mentions in the activity stream in
activities and projects went from 2.196 to 3.647.
The CTO experienced a decrease in total number of emails sent
from 1.010 to 332 - an estimated time saving of 1 hour 15 minutes
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