Recently EMC’s CDO Mark Lewis started a discussion about Corporate SPAM. If you have ever been in a large corporate environment, you know what he is talking about…. (payroll notifications, giving campaigns, press releases, etc, etc). Mark goes on to say that corporate spam is not a good way to manage inclusion. It forces unwanted content into the information stream of every day lives. This is certainly true and it there is a fine balance that organizations have to deal with. This problem is especially true as tactics to market to internal employees is on the rise and employees are increasingly annoyed at dealing with unwanted content.
Mark suggests a way to handle the situation, using a portal is his example (although there are other ways to deal with the situation). Portals are great because people can choose to use them or not, although ensuring people know about the portal can be an email campaign all on it’s own. That is where most companies hit the dilemna of whether to SPAM their employees or simply make the information available and tell no one.
The answer is a little less cut and dry though, some companies have a culture where corporate information over email is the best way to go, the employees expect the information here and look forward to it. Some companies are on the opposite side of the fence and don’t want any information in email. Then there is the whole wide world (WWW) of in between… Some companies want certain information in email and other information left on a portal site, some companies have graduated from the web 1.0 and are ready to subscribe to RSS feeds of the content they want, some companies want SMS messages sent to them for certain things (like building power outages) while other things are emailed (like their boss died) and yet different content is available as an RSS feed (like the pay schedule), some companies want to open corporate google and search for information, some companies want to use a custom internal application to discover this kind of information.
In the end, the culture of the company drives what is acceptable. Search will become more important as company content grows and employees turnover ( even though this is not in Mark’s three categories) , portals have some longevity here too (the pull technologies are improving with wikis etc), push technologies such as email and RSS feeds will continue to be prevalent as well. The culture will dictate what is needed and will dictate when the needs change, if you are managing your culture then you can influence this, if your culture is just inherently strong then you should be listening already.
I know the post is a big pitch for eRoom, and eRoom is a portal and it does store documents, but it doesn’t work with IE7 yet, you can’t get an RSS feed out of it, and the search capability is substandard. Yeah I know I work for the company and shouldn’t say things like this…. but these things really need to change, the backend of eRoom is documentum (which btw, rocks!). Of course EMC put together a good answer for this, let Sharepoint front-end documentum. I really hope this comes out quickly and I hope that it either kills eRoom or drives that team to drastically improve the product.