Trapped data . . . is it losing you money?

The amount of information trapped in a person’s email inbox is astounding.   The scary thing is that business owners don’t even know what information lies beneath each employee’s email account.

The longer this information remains locked up in those accounts, the more money an organisation stands to lose for not being able to data mine that information with relative ease.

The information in those accounts is difficult to search and is not readily accessible by others for search purposes.   The information is literally trapped in a one on one relationship with the person who holds the account.   Interestingly, the holder of the account does not necessarily have an absolute understanding of what to search for when they need to find something locked away in their account.   They can spend countless hours searching and in some cases may have no success finding it!

So much information that is put into email can be put into a more collaborative arena in order to create greater transparency and collaboration.   For instance, when IBM’s new CEO Ginni Rometty sent her first message to employees, she posted a video to IBM’s internal social network, Connections[1].   She did this in preference to bombarding people with an email.

Let’s face it.  When we send someone a question via email, the response is never immediate.   And in many instances, by the time the question has been read and understood by the recipient, the person who sent the email has worked out the answer by using other means at their disposal.   This simply reflects the world we live in.   It is fast and furious.   There is little time spent twiddling our thumbs.    People demand answers quickly; so our ongoing dependence on email will only slow us down, make us inefficient and overly stressed.

Molly Graham, who works with Facebook’s mobile group, says that email is too slow and archaic.   She says, “Look at the line that we use every day called CC.   What does CC even stand for?   It stands for carbon copy, which is insane.   What does that mean in today’s world?’[2]

I was at a recent digital seminar and the presenter saw the need to explain the concept of CC to the millennials at the conference.   Proof of how archaic email has now become.

Today, we need to get smarter with our data use and data mining.   We need to understand that there is significant value attached to our business data.   This means it must be accessible by those who need access to it and access must be seamless and easy.

Business information can be moved to open platforms that create greater transparency throughout the organisation.    By moving to these platforms, relevant stakeholders can join the conversation.   They can add to the conversation and in doing so they can communicate with many people at the click of a button.   Not only does this help create an open culture, it also allows people to have easy access to the data without troubling someone to forward on an email containing data that is better shared on an open platform in the first place.  We need to remove unnecessary clutter from these over burdened and archaic accounts.  Don’t get me wrong.  Michelle is a great friend but I don’t need an email saying ‘There is cake in the kitchen to celebrate Michelle’s birthday!’   That information is best served elsewhere and my account doesn’t need that clutter!

Email will still remain a necessary business tool.   It is great for communicating information that is more sensitive in its nature.   We just need to get smarter with its use and look at how we can implement systems that bring greater efficiencies across our workforce.


[1] IBM Gives Birth To Amazing E-mail-less Man by Robert McMillan in Wired, 16 January 2012

[2] Ibid