How Do You Solve A Problem Like Email?

By Richard Hughes on March 19, 2015

Few information workers would argue with the assertion that business use of email is now so far out of control that we need to do something about it. The statistics are so terrifying that they’re scarcely believable – apparently the average employee sends 78 emails a day, receives 37, and checks their email 36 times an hour. But it’s not just a problem of email overload; email’s inherent lack of accountability have contributed at least in part to the downfall of many prominent people including George Entwhistle, James Murdoch and Steven Cohen, and is currently making life uncomfortable for its highest-profile victim yet, Hillary Clinton.
We all know there’s a problem – what we can’t agree on is the solution.

Technology vendors have split into two main schools of thought: one is trying to fix email, the other trying to replace it. The “fix email” camp is layering more functionality, filters and user interface innovations on top of email clients to make it faster and easier to deal with the ever-increasing deluge of messages. The “replace email” camp is creating new communication environments entirely separate from email and all its problems.

At BroadVision we believe that both approaches are doomed to failure.

The “fix email” approach calls to mind the rather clichéd babies in the river parable – making it easier to rescue the proverbial babies from the river, rather than going upstream and stopping people throwing them in.

The “replace email” approach does recognise that superficial innovations to email just disguise the problem rather than really fixing it. But it fails to deal with the uncomfortable reality that email remains the one ubiquitous, global protocol for communication – every company can send and receive email, every connected device you have can send and receive email (OK, so there may be exceptions… just not very many). Creating a new, closed communication environment may be great for the people inside it – not so good when you need to communicate with someone outside it.

Indeed, this is one of the reasons why much of the promise of enterprise social networking remains unfulfilled. For many companies, however much they wanted to move to a new, more efficient, more open way of working, they found it too hard to change employee habits. They ended up being dragged back into the bad old ways of email, because that remains the one guaranteed way of connecting with everyone.

That’s why BroadVision designed Vmoso with a “no user left behind” philosophy. Yes, we agree with the “replace email” approach – we need a fundamentally redesigned environment for business communication, suitable for the interconnected, mobile age and Vmoso delivers that. But we understand that different companies are at different levels of readiness for change, and within companies, different departments and even different employees have different appetites to make the move.

So you can fully engage in Vmoso-hosted collaborations from an email client for as you need to. Each discussion in Vmoso has a unique email address that can be used only by participants of the discussion, and email users can initiate new Vmoso discussions using the generic addresses such as chat@vmoso.com and task@vmoso.com, even if they’ve never used Vmoso before (go on, try it!).

We believe Vmoso is unique in providing a bridge from the old world of communication to the new – a state-of-the-art environment for business collaboration and engagement that leaves no email user behind.

To sign up for Vmoso, click here, or download the iPhone or Android app.