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Atos will be zero email firm.

Outlook

Paris: One of Europe's biggest technology consultancies, Atos, is pushing ahead with a revolutionary plan to ban internal email.

CEO Thierry Breton confirmed to the BBC this week that Atos still plans to be an email free firm within three years to ease "information pollution".

Breton first set out his ambition to eradicate all emails between Atos employees in February. Instead, a zero-email Atos will rely on improved communication applications as well as new collaboration and social media tools.

M. Breton said then, "We are producing data on a massive scale that is fast polluting our working environments and also encroaching into our personal lives. At Atos we are taking action now to reverse this trend, just as organizations took measures to reduce environmental pollution after the industrial revolution.

"The volume of emails we send and receive is unsustainable for business. Managers spend between 5 and 20 hours a week reading and writing emails. They are already using social media networking more than search, and spend 25 per cent of their time searching for information. At Atos, for example, we have set up collaboration tools and social community platforms, to share and keep track of ideas on subjects from innovation and Lean Management through to sales. Businesses need to do more of this — email is on the way out as the best way to run a company and do business."

Atos says its' focus is to adopt innovative social business solutions in the workplace to bridge the 'social business gap. Built on collaborative technology these solutions provide a more personal, more immediate and importantly more cost effective means to manage and share information that supports the way of working in the 21st century and enables the Smart Organization.

Breton's strategy is in line with the Atos Wellbeing at Work Programme launched in 2009 to support its goal of being one of the best places to work.

He says that the move has intrigued Atos's customers, but that his motive is to improve the lives of the firm's 80,000 employees.

Information overload — the Atos argument

  • By 2013, more than half of all new digital content will be the result of updates to, and editing of existing information
  • Online social networking is now more popular than email and search
  • Middle managers spend more than 25% of their time searching for information
  • 2010: Corporate users receive 200 mails per day, 18% of which is spam.

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