Let's Do E-Mail

Government organizations consider electronic mail to be the most cost-effective method of communication, a recent survey found.

The survey, conducted by the General Services Administration's Electronic Messaging Program Management Office, asked 223 state and federal organizations to rank various communication methods in order from least to most cost-effective. Eighty-two organizations responded, ranking e-mail as the best value, followed by fax messages, voice mail, telephone communication, the World Wide Web, face-to-face meetings, paper-based mail, and video teleconferencing.

However, 88 percent of respondents said their communication costs had risen since introducing e-mail to their agencies, indicating that e-mail supplements other forms of communication rather than replacing them.

E-mail has certainly taken its toll on paper-based mail. Thirty-three percent of respondents said they had seen a large decrease in their use of "snail mail."

The survey also found that large federal agencies give e-mail access to 58 percent of their employees and small agencies give e-mail access to 89 percent of employees.

All responding agencies reported that communication within their organizations had increased. All of them also reported more communication with other agencies through e-mail.

World Wide Web usage is considered important, though only 41 percent of agencies reported that Web access was "widely available." But 83 percent of agencies say they expect widespread access within two years.

Eighty percent of federal agencies have developed policies governing usage of the World Wide Web, while 95 percent of large federal agencies and 79 percent of small agencies have developed e-mail policies.

The Air Force is issuing a new policy later this year defining proper use of e-mail on government time.

"If used properly, e-mail is a superb tool to complement and improve our communications," says Lt. Col Frank McGovern, chief of Air Force communications and information policy at the Pentagon. "However, just like other forms of communication, such as the telephone or correspondence, there is a potential for abuse."

GSA's e-mail office provides support to agencies setting up email systems and also coordinates governmentwide standards for the technology.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.