When Microsoft launched Outlook in the early 1990s, email was seen as the future of electronic text-based communications. Indeed it was a revolutionary medium, allowing users to distribute letters, news, offers etc. within a matter of minutes, considerably quicker than ‘snail mail’. Fast forward a couple of decades and email is now just one of the many communication tools businesses have at their disposal.
Email still has its uses; it’s a good way to communicate large amounts of written information that doesn’t necessarily have to be acted upon straightaway. However, there are more effective ways to contact colleagues, customers or anyone else that doesn’t happen to be in the same room at the same time.
Email is great for sharing newsletters that come out once a week or less and contain news that doesn’t necessarily have to be communicated with any urgency. However, traditional e-newsletters can often take much time and effort to put together and distribute. By the time the intended audience comes around to opening and reading the information it is likely to be almost, if not actually, out of date.
Instead, businesses should consider intranet communication tools that enable static information to be easily published and distributed within minutes of it becoming available. Unily’s Broadcast Center is a lightweight content publishing application that allows an organisation to disseminate news that is immediately viewable on any device to targeted groups.
Enterprise social networking applications, such as Microsoft Teams, enable real time conversations between remote users, providing the capability to share websites, articles and other static items. In this way ESNs are far more effective at enhancing engagement than email, providing an immediacy much more akin to real-life meetings.
Email is very limiting if a user wants an answer from a specific person straight away. The better alternative is to have real-time chat or instant messaging applications offering faster responses while still keeping a tab on conversations.
Moving beyond simple text and images, a user might want to use a tool such as Skype for Business, which allows communication using voice and video as well as content sharing.
One of the more frustrating elements of communicating by email is automated responses announcing that the intended recipient is not available, so please contact someone else. Through intranet directory applications, users can search for whoever they need to contact and find out their availability along with any alternative colleagues who might be of help.
To be most effective, these tools need to be available at the click of a button and be able to integrate seamlessly with each other using a powerful, yet easy-to-use intranet platform such as Unily.