The number of email accounts is predicted to reach 5.59 billion by 2019. That’s a growth of over 26 percent; testament to the staying power of one of the greatest business disrupters since the typewriter. Email is as much a part of professional life as caffeine or the office radio. Most of us use it every day and most of us will continue to use it despite other communication technology moving in on email’s once undisputed territory.
As of 2014, there were 122,500,453,020 emails sent every hour. So, if you were thinking that email is on the same inevitable decline that you and I are on, you were wrong. Email will outlive us all. But is it the quickest, most fluid and simple way of communicating professionally? Our post today argues that despite the still valid presence of email, using Microsoft’s Skype for Business for communicating with your colleagues will reduce your internal bottlenecks and free you up to get better work done, faster.
Fast, faster, fastest
Before the emergence of email, the way the office communicated with itself—management with employees, team leaders with their teams—were with the use of memorandums. Memos, of course, are very much like email, just much slower: written by hand (or dictated) and typed up by a secretary; checked, corrected, and re-typed in full; then sent physically in envelopes around the office via in and out-trays, or across town, or even further afield at the ‘speed of human’.
Enter the desktop computer, the word processor, and email, and suddenly everything changed. Overnight, there was a way to send your memo instantly to a colleague even if they were in a regional office on the other side of the world. Imagine the power!
A fly in the ointment
Certainly, the emergence of email has changed the way we do business forever. But the power of such written communication doesn’t mean it is completely problem-free. We’ve all experienced it: you email a colleague, only to be left waiting on a response. And you need that response. Perhaps it’s confirmation of a specific point in a project that needs to be signed off. You could call them up, but you actually need the confirmation in writing. Perhaps you don’t want to (or simply cannot) call because they might be with a client or in a meeting. Meanwhile, you are receiving multiple emails, on multiple threads all to do with the same project – there are others waiting on you to give them the go ahead on what they need to do. Suddenly they can’t progress any further on their part of the project. You’re hamstrung, they’re hamstrung, the project has stalled and the client is left waiting. Not ideal. And now imagine that this is happening across multiple projects with other team members – that means even more email threads, from different people on the same projects or the same people on different projects. It means multiple pieces of work are falling behind schedule, deadlines are at risk, and so is your business’s reputation, all while making your head spin.
So, what’s the alternative?
Technology: the cause and solution to all our problems
Luckily technology is progressing faster than ever. In fact, we’re at a point where suddenly email isn’t the most advanced way to communicate in writing with someone. Using Skype for Business, you can side-step a lot of the issues that email threads can bring.
Wouldn’t it be easier if you knew whether the colleague you need a response from ASAP was available or not? Knowing someone is in a meeting, busy or away from their desk can be reassuring to you for lots of reasons. Firstly, they’re not ignoring you. At least that’s something. Using Skype for Business, your team can display their current ‘status’ indicating whether they are ‘Available’, ‘Away’, ‘Do Not Disturb’, or ‘Offline’. The presence status doesn’t just show up in Skype for Business but is included across Office 365, so no matter where you collaborate you can see where your teammates are.
More and more, we are using Instant Messaging to communicate in writing in real time. So, if you see that your colleague, who you need information from (so the project you’re working on can go ahead, etc., etc.), is online, you can ask what you need and can be almost certain that they have seen your message. This inherently speeds up communication to something even faster than email. A Skype for Business icon will flash on your desktop when you receive a message and the person writing it, likely, expects you to respond instantly in a way they would not when communicating via email. If they are away from their desk or offline, a copy of your instant message automatically goes to their email inbox so, you can be assured even if they are not available in ‘real time’ they will see your message when they get around to checking their email. Instant, but still reliable.
Smart contact list configuration
With Skype for Business, it’s simple to create a list of contacts for all your Skype for Business users. For Office 365 users it’s automatic. That means that the correct contact information for a user that you or anyone else might need is immediately available. Speedy and efficient!
Email is for confirmation, Skype is for conversation
Email is around to stay, but that doesn’t mean that it is the only method of written communication we have to rely on. Using Skype for Business as a better alternative for collaborating most efficiently could free up new ways of working you may not have had time to consider, previously.
ISAAC Intelligence are Microsoft experts who can help you get the very most out of your investment. Contact us today and find out more about how using Skype for Business can improve your business processes.
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