Email has integrated with our daily lives so much. In the Corporate world, often we use outlook for purposes for which it is not built for / good at.
When I worked in DBA Chennai, our task allocation, clarification management etc were done only in using outlook. [When I quit, I gave my local PST file to another friend who took over my tasks. It would have been big pain for him to go over all those mails if he wanted to search for something.]
How many times we send a mail to our manager / some other dept and waiting for ages to get a response? I sent a mail to HR for a query on my payroll and he did not care for 1 month. Typical solution was to send a reminder CC ing his boss..in this case CEO ...Not a nice solution.
I think Email has been a culprit hiding lot of problems since mail box is not a centralized. When most of the communication is done thro' email, there is not much visibility on what is happening. Reusing any knowledge - an outcome of the communication - is also not possible.
Most of the enterprisey communications are better off using web applications designed specifically for purposes such as Project Managment, Knowledge management etc.,
Most of our requests are support tickets kind. Bugzilla - a Bug Tracker - can replace most of the Enterprisey emails.Instead of sending emails, if we raise requests using a tool like this, top management knows how many requests are pending on every dept and it is better for work allocation (provided the management really cares, that is). All these requests will by default send an email, if we want to. So email will be primarily used as a notification tool instead of carrying all the content.
Of course all the above is the how it has to be. But in reality it is very difficult to change our habit. Recently I came across a tool - Liaise (http://www.liaise.com) in beta - which add tasks with deadlines to specific persons as we type the email text - understanding what we are typing.Very impressive !
Have a look here.
PS: I predict MS would acquire this company and this feature would be in next outlook ;-)