The Big Question is an initiative between Computer Weekly and recruitment consultancy PSD. Each week we put the Big Question to top IT professionals to get their take on a current talking point.
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IT professionals are in strong agreement that the growth in volume of e-mail and the associated tide of spam is undermining the usefulness of e-mail as a communication and productivity tool, according to this week's poll.
The surprisingly one-sided result saw respondents voting nearly nine-to-one in agreement that e-mail is these days more of a hindrance than a help.
Peter Thompson of LHS International said e-mail had overtaken the phone as the main communication tool, but needed to be refined. "As it stands, it requires time, tools and dedication to manage well on a daily basis," he said.
Thompson said associated issues were cost, remote access, better spam filters and other security or compliance controls, especially with the advent of instant messaging. Improved archive, backup and restore functions would address growing volumes, he added.
IT director David Barry agreed that more structured storage, such as content management systems, intranets and databases, would help improve e-mail management levels, "although people often curse mailbox size limits," he said.
And an anonymous respondent echoed the overall view that managing e-mail volumes is the main factor counting against any productivity gains.
"I have had to resort to sending larger files to my personal e-mail to free up space. It seems ridiculous that web-based e-mail systems give away hundreds of megabytes for free but my own employer limits it to 80Mbytes."
Managers failing to control information
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