Turning passion into progress – Towards a Zero email™

Turning passion into progress – Towards a Zero email™ Olympic Games

Zero email signify process excellence

All organizations face challenges as a result of the explosion in data and the Olympic and Paralympic Games are no different.  With so much data flowing in and requiring attention, it is crucial the really important messages get through and are not ‘lost’ in the system.

Certified Zero email Certified TM, Thierry Breton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer


During Games time at London 2012, the technology team will no longer rely on email, but instead use collaboration tools to manage monitor and share information about the main critical processes of the operations.




Thierry Breton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Cécile Autran, Executive Consultant, Philippe Mareine, Secrétaire Général


This will affect incident management, service requests and change management within 3 primary processes:  Coordinating communications, the media and security.

Emails in processes are either extraneous or in place of workflow

Using the Atos Olympics processes as the “gold standard”, our Zero email™ Program has developed a maturity model to show up, describe how to remove emails present in processes and certify when they are email free and make internal processes “Zero email Certified™”

Experience suggests that email dependent processes are more costly than those which employ effective workflow.  The first task is to identify whether and where email exists within a process as it is designed and used in operations.  If emails are present determine whether they can be removed. Mostly this can be achieved without major investment through the use of existing knowledge management and workflow software, or more frequent face-to-face, voice and video communication between team members.  In a similar way, as zero email maturity grows, regular meetings can be held without any email contact between the attendees.

Email as a shadow process

In many cases email is not necessary for the function of a process but has been put there in parallel, because of the security people feel following actions from their inbox.  We now know each email received has an interruptive effect and it is far better to use the appropriate tools for tasks with effective time management than have tasks foisted upon people.

The second search therefore is to identify whether email is present in the process but actually not necessary to it.  Through discussions with the teams these extraneous email triggers can simply be switched off, saving thousands of hours of lost time.

Email used for supervision

Once a process is proven to run without email its excellence is signified by awarding it Zero email Certified™ status using a certified Internal Audit team. Nevertheless some critical processes still need monitoring and email is often still required for supervisory purposes.  In many cases this is for legal reasons for example in adhering to a duty of care or maintaining contact with key individuals, and therefore this is often the hardest layer of email to remove.

At this stage I would contend that the formal supervisory use of email is usually small and until the enterprise moves to a new model of using social software instead of email, then supervisory emails are likely to remain.

Olympic Games excellence

Atos teams working at the London 2012 Olympic Games will use monitoring tools with workflows to analyze problems without the need of email. These tools are role-based so a customized view is created for each user group to make sure that users have access to appropriate information to perform their tasks and thus avoiding information overload and leading to higher information quality.  This result is more efficient and effective communication and team work and the core Security Information Event Management (SIEM) Process has become the first Atos process to become “Zero email Certified™

As with anything related to the Olympic Games, testing is absolutely vital which means that although our Communications and Media processes do not have email embedded in their workflow, they will still go through a formal change process before they too can be certified in time for the next Olympic Games in Sochi.