email in the business setting and its use for the purpose of communication. The writer takes the reader on an exploratory journey through the uses of email in the business world for communication and presents an overview of the positive and negative aspects of its use. There were four sources used to complete this paper.
The technological explosion of the last few decades has taken mankind to heights never before dreamed possible.
Today, with the click of a mouse one can manage their own stocks, plan and purchase vacations, chat with others around the world and make purchases of anything they want or need. Another positive advent stemming from the technological boom is the invention of email. Electronic mail is the process by which one can send message to another or many others with the click of a mouse. With the invention of email many problems that were an everyday part of business have been alleviated. Time constraints, the ability to communicate nation or world wide and the need to address large numbers of people in many areas at once have all been taken care of with the invention and use of email. While it has had a positive effect on the world of business there have also been negative aspects of its use that have come to light in recent years. Employees using it for personal use, legal battles over who owns the emails and other questions have been the focus of media attention of late.
While the fine print of email use in the business world is being ironed out through court and media actions the fact remains that it is one of the best tools of communication in the business world today.
WHAT IS IT?
Before one can understand the way email impacts and affects the business world, one should have an understanding about what email is and how it is used in business. Email stands for Electronic mail. It is a tool that allows the typing of a message onto a computer monitor.
The message is then sent through the use of the Internet to the recipients it is intended. In addition the email can be saved to the hard drive and used over and over again or deleted at a later date. The email features in all internet service cases provide a method for the recipient or recipients to reply to the sender with the click of a mouse button and the typing of a response.
As with other technological advances it seems that each time the world gets a new capability it is almost immediately challenged by additional advances. Email is no exception to this and the advances have been tremendous in recent years. Currently email service providers have the ability to have email text messages sent, received and saved on cellular phones. They are also available on beeper services. One only has to pay for the service and they have the ability to check their email from a telephone, another computer or a beeper at will. These added features to the use of email have made email the most effective communication tool in business today.
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT AS A COMMUNICATION TOOL IN Business
Email has become the most used form of communication in the world according to many business reports. One recent study concluded that it is growing so fast that by 2005 there will be more than 17 billion emails sent each day in North America. In addition there will be an estimated daily email activity of 36 billion world wide (Enforcement, 2000).
Effective communication and collaboration is the lifeblood of doing business in today's global environment and intranets and email are rapidly becoming the glue that binds businesses together. Email is the most vital form of communication that businesses use today, surpassing even the telephone," said Dave Thatcher, president of Critical Path (Internet, 2000)."
The email abilities today include the ability to return a phone call with a single keystroke as well as speak a message into a phone and have it appear in an email response that is typed (Phone, 1999).
Because of the abilities that emails provide email has become the most popular and most successful form of communication in the business world today. There are many purposes for email to be used for communication. Email can be used to send a message to employees, supervisors, and clients or customers. Email can be sent to a single recipient or to many recipients depending on the desire of the sender and the blocks that are placed by the receivers at the time. Email can be as long or as short as needed and it has the ability to allow attachments that can be internet links, word documents, charts, graphs, pictures or anything else that is viewable on a computer.
Email takes the place of phones, faxes, and in person meetings all at the same time. It allows for interaction between those on the email loop and it provides records of communication between those who use it (Phone, 1999).
PROBLEMS WITH EMAIL
While email is an exciting and successful means of communication in the business world there have been problems with its use because of the new and uncharted territory it tests. Court cases have been held to argue who owns individual emails, who own the rights to information contained within business emails and other issues. The recent and much publicized Enron scandal involved many deleted emails as well as arguments as to who was legally entitled to view the contents of other emails sent to and from Enron computers (Enforcement, 2000).
KVS: KVS outlines five steps for enforcement of email management policies and calls for legal clarification on retention and deletion of emails; Enron fiasco highlights need for enforcement technology.
Given the strategic importance of email, it is vital that businesses define policies to address the full lifecycle of email retention, deletion, retrieval and audit," said Mike Hedger, CEO of KVS. "Of course, as has been realized in the complex world of computer security, policies are only useful if they can be enforced efficiently and effectively. Therefore email policy enforcement technology should be part of a company's total email management strategy. This would not only enable companies to find information quickly and easily in the event of a dispute, but it would actually emphasize its willingness to proactively share information in a co-operative manner (Enforcement, 2000)."
The report provided five outlined suggestions to protect the integrity and success of the use of email as a communication tool in the business world. They were:
An Email management policy must be both well defined and supported by underlying technology capable of enforcing it.
All email should be secured on a central, secure email vault where it can be managed in line with the defined email policy.
Automated email retention rules should be enforced.
Where appropriate, automated email deletion policies should be enforced.
Tools should be put in place to allow archived emails to be located quickly and easily without large scale business disruption (Enforcement, 2000). "
Email policy enforcement is critical in today's business environment. Emails become corporate records that require the same level of management and protection as other corporate records," cautioned Maurene Caplan Grey, Research Director for Gartner (Enforcement, 2000). "
The use of email can hasten important business decisions and needs as well as shorten the wait time for meetings and answers. The use of email as a communication tool in the business world provides a universal and inexpensive way to process needed data, messages and other business developments (New, 1999). There are many different uses for email in the business world. Some of them include:
Memos, minutes of meetings messages both business and personal by nature (New, 1999)."
The dark side of email involves security and privacy issues. The security of email is not as advanced as many believe it to be. Not only can businesses get into the email of their employees and read them but a good hacker can break into a company email bank and retrieve data from it (New, 1999). " A recent survey found that 89% of large companies regard network security important; but, no more than a third have any policies concerning email. In fact, according to Alan Abdullahi, President of Lansoft Corporation (New, 1999), "More than 70% of companies use email for their communications... yet less than 30% have any measures to monitor or control its flow." Unfortunately, over the past 10 years "Corporate America" like the rest of us has jumped on the "Electronic Mail Bandwagon" without looking at "the road ahead." According to Michael Overly, a renowned lawyer who specializes in Internet Law (New, 1999), "There is a gradual waking up to the concern that email can come back to haunt businesses." Actually, the most disturbing aspect of this problem is that the biggest threat that a company has to fear from their email can come from their own employees (New, 1999). For…