Fast food is cheap, convenient and ubiquitous. And of course, unhealthy. It's great for an occasional quick fix, but a steady diet of it is detrimental.
Similar to fast food, email is a quick fix. It's great for simple, transactional messaging, but when it comes to collaboration and productivity, email is more like artery-clogging fat.
For most professional businesses, communication is collaborative. Your team and clients exchange information, ideas and files over the lifetime of a project or engagement. Moreover, much of that communication triggers activities in the form of tasks. In a well-managed project, information and activities are centralized in a shared space where they're easily accessed and highly visible.
Email, on the other hand, does the opposite. It pulls the information into a vortex of topics, attachments and tasks that are scattered without any organization or digestibility. If you've ever joined a group email thread midstream, you know just how difficult it can be to decipher the conversation. Rather than telling a story of where the project started and where it's currently at, you get a shotgun blast of information without clear direction or meaning. Email is like the oxygen-depriving cholesterol in fast food, suffocating the collaborative process.
Managing activities through email is as reliable as posting sticky notes. There's no tracking mechanism, no group visibility and no scheduling control. Effective task management requires well-designed life cycle functionality, something email just wasn't intended to do. Feeding a team email-based tasks will likely cause business indigestion.
Managing documents and attachments through email is another challenge. Document versions can be outdated the moment they're received, and without a central library, collaborators can't be certain who's making changes or what the change history looks like. Searching for images and other attachments can be time consuming because there are no organized thumbnail libraries.
The solution to business email woes is a purpose-built application that seamlessly integrates communication, task management, document version control and file sharing. Moreover, it should provide clients with easy access to essential information during and after the engagement. There are plenty of cloud-based solutions with a range of functionality and pricing. Find one that suits your business requirements and replace that fast-food email. Your “business body” will perform much better and be happier for it!