Will Email Become Extinct?

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Menlo Park, Calif. — Sept. 19

Email may soon become the new snail mail, a new Robert Half Technology survey suggests. More than half (54 percent) of CIOs interviewed recently said real-time workplace communication tools will surpass traditional email in popularity within the next five years.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals on a project- and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, “In the next five years, do you think real-time workplace communication tools — Instant Messaging, SharePoint, Yammer, etc. — will be more or less popular than email among employees?” Their responses:

Much more popular: 13 percent
Somewhat more popular: 41 percent
The same: 38 percent
Somewhat less popular: 5 percent
Much less popular: 2 percent
Don’t know/ no answer: 1 percent
Robert Half Technology outlines three benefits a transition to real-time tools could have on the workplace:

•    Speed. Instant messaging (IM) allows employees to have conversations at the click of a button, without opening emails or waiting for responses. IM also enables employees in different locations to have real-time conversations, thus resolving issues more quickly.
•    Convenience. Many programs include a host of features like IM, microblogging, forums and document collaboration and management. This eliminates the need to switch between separate programs to communicate. Not only does this have the potential to improve efficiency, but it can increase collaboration on projects and reduce the need for meetings.
•    The social aspect. Enterprise social networking sites, such as Yammer or Chatter, are useful for collaboration and sharing ideas and best practices within the company. This technology also has the potential to foster teamwork and camaraderie among employees.

“Although email remains an important communication tool, the increased use of real-time technologies affects the IT environment,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Employers are looking for the right people to deploy these tools in new ways to increase efficiency. IT professionals should consider the importance of keeping current with real-time technologies in order to stay competitive in the job market.”

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