Email and Broken Business processes

Luis Suarez pointed to an interesting post "Broken business processes contribute to our email overload". The core of the post is:
Socialtext has connected the dots between a few reports to discover that a great deal of our email comes from handling exceptions. Because business processes don't have a system to translate them into practice, we spend more than a quarter of our day emailing about the exceptions to the business process rules.
Worse than the volume of email is the amount of mental energy required by each email recipient, ergo worker, to parse each exception and determine what to do with it. E-mail was once intended to increase productivity and has now become so voluminous it is counter productive. Basex determined that business loose $650 billion in productivity due to the unnecessary email interruptions. And, the average number of corporate emails sent and received per person per day expected to reach over 228 by 2010.
Email overload due to broken business processes... Wow. I've never thought about it in that way. This would be very interesting to investigate in more detail. To which part of the email overload does this account? I don't think all of it. Because email also helps us communicate over business processes. Not all our work - I'm happy to say - can be defined or is related to business processes.


  1. Samuel,

    Interesting finding, and one that I can relate to. In my experience as a communications consultant I have often seen that a so-called communication problem is really an organization problem. We are not bad communicators, just bad organizers. The core of the organization problem is often the total lack of understanding of the core processes that we work on, and the lack of clear division of work related to these processes . Hence, the need to align, ask questions, cover our asses, stop bad interventions, you name it. This is a great angle to approach the e-mail overload.

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