A survey by IT staffing company, Robert Half Technology, of 1400 CIOs across the United States found that more than half are predicting that real-time collaboration technologies such as Jive and SharePoint will surpass email as the chief form of internal communications in the next 5 years.

That could be considered a surprising finding because general coverage of Enterprise 2.0 technologies over the last few years indicates that most large companies are very slow in adopting enterprise collaboration.

The survey seems to suggest that CIOs “completely get” enterprise social software and they see it having a huge impact on internal communications in the short term. But in my experience this is not generally the case.

When asked “In the next 5 years, do you think real-time workplace communication tools–for example, instant messaging, SharePoint, Yammer, etc.–will be more or less popular than email among employees?” 54 percent responded that it would be much more popular or somewhat more popular than email.

13 percent said “much more popular” and 41 percent said “somewhat more popular”. This means that only a small percentage could be viewed as being extremely optimistic, but the fact that 54 percent overall believed that email was becoming less popular was very encouraging for the real-time communications market.

John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology wasn’t quite ready to announce the end of email, but he acknowledged that the influence of real-time tools is undeniable: “Although email remains an important communication tool, the increased use of real-time technologies affects the IT environment.”

While Reed was looking at it from an employability standpoint, the survey suggests that employers will be looking for people who have a deep understanding of enterprise social technologies and how they might develop in future.

For more information see the Robert Half Technology press release.

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