WSJ’s Business Technology blog had an interesting post asking Why Do You Hate Email? The post quotes Michael Osterman, saying:

Email has been stretched far beyond its limits…

I agree based upon what I see in my consulting clients, but not just in the traditional ways we imagine ‘stretching’ to include (e.g., cc’ing the world, horrendously long tomes).  In many cases, Email has become a de facto work flow solution – a function for which is is horribly unsuitable.  This has happened due to the old “if the hammer is your only tool, every problem looks like a nail.”  Absent the tools or wherewithal to really think through workflow needs and opportunities, Email became the answer.  This is akin to the common mistake of automating bad business processes rather than re-engineering them in the light of automation possibilities.

I got more into this in a post a while back on The Myth of Information Overload.  Challenge every Email sent and recieved – is this something that belongs as an email, or should it be part of an automated work flow process?  I beleive that in the current economic conditions, we need to be digging deep to harness the next level of productivity and effectiveness gains – the technology is there – and there’s never been a better time to leverage it!