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Eugen Tarnow


Social Media & Lotus Notes & the Corporate Internal Communications Officer

Eugen Tarnow  March 5 2012 12:25:11 PM
I am reading the IBM sponsored IDC report about social collaboration entitled "The Future of Email is Social".
Idea in a nutshell:: organizations can improve their internal communication if they give their employees access to social media tools along with email in an integrated environment.

Essentially, the report says that email is alone is not sufficient for organizational communication. In fact, the report describes email as important but an irritation: "some companies... [want to] alleviate the growing complaints and irritation associated with the use of traditional enterprise communication tools, particularly email."
I don't find email irritating. I think it is a great tool. But let's have IDC give their argument. They feel the problem with email is that "many enterprises are on back-level software and aren't aware of or taking advantage of these enhancements," including software for filtering, security, archiving [Click here for our archiving system], and attachment deduplication [Click here for our attachment consolidation system]. They also feel the email is the strongest in one-to-one communication, and instead of people copying others on email messages when they want group communication, they should use some form of social software.  

“Social media tools” include communication structures like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.  From a Lotus Notes perspective they are interconnected discussion databases centered around processes, products or people.  But Lotus Notes is better: As processes mature, they can become customized Lotus Notes workflow systems, and as processes die off, the corresponding databases can be removed.  Lotus Notes databases can live and die with the corporate needs and become more or less specialized.

The only negative I have heard about Notes applications is that it is easy to have too many of them because they are too easy to design (sounds like the perfect interview answer to "what is your biggest weakness") and often nobody knows which databases are in use and which are not in use. Otherwise they seem to fulfill the IDC list of “most important messaging application features.

Perhaps the answer to better corporate communication is a better and more powerful Lotus Notes application team which oversees and assists with Lotus Notes application development?  Instead of reporting to the CIO, perhaps it should report directly to the CEO?  Or perhaps another C-level position should be created - the Chief Internal Communications Officer, CIFO, under whom the Lotus Notes applications reside and whose office is covered with communication maps?  

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