Will Internet Monopolies Be Our “Get Out of Email Jail Free” Card?

By Kate Dobbertin, Communication & Collaboration Project Manager, Xerox Corporate Communications

My colleague Breanna Banford recently wrote a blog post about communication – there are an ever-growing number of ways to communicate, she said, and, in addition to the time it takes to learn a new tool, there is frustration and difficulty choosing which tool to use and when.

While Breanna is undoubtedly right, I think we’re facing a bigger problem:  so much time and so little to do. (Wait a minute. Strike that.  Reverse it.)

It’s easy to say the problem is email, or IM, or the long line of loyal subjects queuing outside your office.  But the real problem is that you’re too darn important!  Everyone wants your opinion or advice.

So what can we do about it?  Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer.  Millions of business books are sold every year on this subject.  But the good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel, at least when it comes to tool confusion.

Dictionary definition of communicationConversations with Cisco, Microsoft, and collaboration industry peers have pointed to a clear trend – the platforms we’re using for communication are consolidating.  Examples are everywhere. Long ago (in internet years) Facebook had separate messaging and chat solutions, but now they’re one-and-the-same, and every user has an email addresses hooked into Facebook’s messaging system.  My Droid Incredible came with a voice-to-text button built into the keyboard; no need to  download another app.  Microsoft bought Skype and is buying Yammer, and they’ve indicated the platforms will be intertwined in future releases.  The walls between these solutions are already starting to blur – soon enough, we’ll each choose our interface and then connect the tools we need.

Today’s communications landscape includes a few big players plus a whole lot of start-ups.  Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple are snatching up minor competitors like a real-world game of Monopoly.  How will this change the way you play?  Does the future look “simpler” to you?


Related post:  Karen Arena, another dynamic coworker, recently published her own excellent blog post laying out some actionable, concrete suggestions for how to decrease your own email volume.  Much of this advice transcends email to apply to all communications pathways.

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  1. Randolph Koch July 12, 2012 - Reply

    This is very true and I came from a company that ended up utilizing the Cisco WebEx Connect product laying aside numerous other MS an other products. WebEx Connect enabled our teams there to have greater collaboration withour counterpart all over the World and now as part of the Xerox team I hope and look forward to a tool like this for the team I’m a part of that is spread all over the place.

  2. Kate Dobbertin (Xerox employee) July 12, 2012 - Reply

    I agree, Randolph — thanks for sharing! I think we’ll see more and more companies taking the one-vendor approach to internal communication and collaboration in the near future. Xerox has a lot of factors which can complicate this process: global presence (systems and laws differ across countries), 140,000+ employee base, many recent acquisitions, etc. I think the small and medium businesses may lead the way!

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