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The Final Word by Jim Thompson
Getting in touch with your emailness…

No, I am not talking about a bunch of hairy guys going out in the woods with a synthesizer and playing electronic drums. The subject is email and modern electronic communications, via the wired and wireless Internet.

Most of us have now had email accounts for well over a decade, yet I am surprised with how many I encounter that think such communications development stopped with the advent of email. The conclusion my observations reach is that smaller organizations and sole proprietorships are doing much better at keeping up with these ever-improving technologies than are larger ones. And I would have to further conclude that large organizations outside the pulp and paper industry are doing better than those within.

Large organizations have legacy cultural communications systems (conference rooms, internal physical mail systems) which are difficult for old timers to abandon. The pulp and paper industry is further hampered by the knowledge that we made our livelihood from many of the systems that are now obsolete. Small organizations seek and embrace the new technologies for communications with their customers and their suppliers; those technologies are extremely critical to their survival.

A real life comparison in another area of communications: in its 11 Apr 20 08 online edition, “The Economist” stated that the U.S. air traffic control system is so antiquated that it now “lags behind Mongolia.” This was not hyperbole; they were stating facts. If someone audited your business communications practices, would they be able to factually say you lag behind those in Mumbai? It just may be possible.

It is time for a new type of information technology (IT) professional. IT professionals have tended to be mechanics keeping creaking systems working. This profession must graduate to a level of being pragmatic visionaries who bring management real, measurable, and easily implemented communications improvements. IT professionals must be measured and rewarded based on their ability to do so. It’s time for your organization to catch up with communications technology: demand a new level of performance from your IT department.

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