Richi Jennings
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Stupid idea: Ban email at huge IT company (Atos)

November 30, 2011 2:36 PM EST

By (@richi ) - November 30, 2011.

Thierry Breton (World Economic Forum) Atos (formerly Atos Origin) has announced that it's abandoning its use of email. Seriously? A $13 billion company that operates in 42 countries is going to stop using email? That's the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard. I'll tell you why, in The Long View...

Atos's CEO Thierry Breton is popping up again in the press, telling the world that he's fed up with his employees wasting their time sending each other email. He likens email to industrial pollution, and wants all communication within the organization to happen face-to-face, on the phone, or -- and I cannot believe I'm writing this -- via text message.

Yes, I said "again": it's not the first time Atos has announced this. The first link above is to a report from ten months ago. It's as if Breton needs to regularly remind his staff -- in public -- of the company's "journey to zero email". I can't help thinking that's because of the understandable resistance from staff, who just want to get their jobs done, without some ivory-tower CEO getting in the way.

The cynic in me says that this is just an elaborate PR exercise for Atos's IT services business. For example, if you happened to want help to run, say, Microsoft Lync to improve your employee's collaboration, to whom would you turn? However, let's give Atos the benefit of the doubt, and assume that nuking email represents a genuine desire to fix its communication problems.

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