In many cases, the solution is to simply stop using email for everything. Seva’s Maniatis, for example, uses Fuze Box’s Fuze Meeting to conduct remote meetings and Dropbox to send big documents and other info to franchisees. Instead of passing versions of a document back and forth by email, some companies use Google Docs to collaborate and make corrections to documents in real time. Likewise, it’s possible to banish the endless emails coordinating meetings times with a group by using a free tool like Doodle for scheduling. Paid offerings such 37Signal’s Campfire can simplify internal messaging by letting you organize company chat rooms. And most of these tools are even accessible from iOS devices.
“Firms are using Wikis, Blogs, and now microblogging services,” Johri said. In most cases, the task drives the tool choice.
Back in Los Angeles, Robert Corrao is still searching for one solution to rule them all. He’d love to see Apple, as it increasingly moves into the enterprise market, develop its own product. He points to Microsoft’s Lyncwhich offers two features he says are essential—security and the ability to archive communications—wrapped around instant messages, chats, video conferences, and, yes, email. “Nobody has the secret sauce right now,” he said.
At other companies that have moved ahead, however, there is near-giddiness at having reshaped internal communication. There are fewer messages to burden workers, and what remains is often more meaningful to the task at hand. “It’s almost beyond communication,” said Seva’s Maniatis. “It’s pure interaction.”
And that, executives say, can help workers be better, fresher, and more focused.
“This has helped us thin out the ‘too much,’” The Motley Fool’s Bishop said of replacing email with Jingle. “There are significantly fewer all-company emails that come out. That’s mostly been moved out.” He added: “Productivity has been enhanced.”