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IT firm bans email -- will your company be next?

There's no question that email is the predominant form of business communication today -- it far and away displaces phone, voicemail, fax and even face-to-face communication. It's so entrenched that it sounds kind of crazy to talk about replacing it. But that's just what Atos, one of the world's largest IT firms, is doing. According to CEO Thierry Breton, the company plans to completely eliminate email as a means of internal communication within the next 18 months.

Atos employs approximately 80,000 people in 42 countries, and they will be moving to a "zero email" policy. In its place, Atos will roll out a communication policy that features three kinds of messages:

-- Telephone
-- Face-to-face
-- A new "real-time messaging" platform -- essentially, a business social network tool

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The reason for this shift in policy includes fairly traditional complaints about the effectiveness of email and the damage caused by the lack of face-to-face human interaction. Breton claims statistics such as:

-- Only 10% of email processed each day in important
-- It takes over a minute to get back to useful work after reading an unimportant message

Breton says: "Companies must prepare for the new wave of usage and behavior."

It remains to be seen if a company the size of Atos can transition away from such a ubiquitous communication tool, and if "real-time messaging" will be any more effective. There's also the consideration that email provides an audit trail and record of business decisions, and is an asynchronous communication tool, which allows people to interact at their own convenience, even during personal hours if they so choose.

Thoughts? Sound off in the comments below. [via Daily Mail]

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