Exchange of ideas at collaboration’s core
Collaboration Strategist Michael Sampson says: “There is no such thing as collaboration technology. There is only technology that is used collaboratively.”
This is true, of course. Technology does nothing on its own – people are required to use that technology in a collaborative manner or it’s just another collection of bits.
When people work together to achieve a common goal, they collaborate to varying degrees, giving and receiving information. It is this exchange of ideas that is the essence of collaboration, and no product from any vendor can accomplish that without human involvement. Tasks can be automated and enhanced, of course; SharePoint workflows can be created, for example, to route specific documents to a manager or an editor for approval as soon as they have been posted to a given site, but in the end it is the human contribution that is the greater value.
Popular platforms generate industry buzz
There is a lot of industry buzz these days around “collaboration technology”, as it fits in with newer terms like Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0).
Much of the momentum for this comes from the rapid adoption of Microsoft’s SharePoint platform and increased awareness by organizations of the need for better content management, adoption and integration of social networking tools, and enhancements to collaborative efforts. The high adoption rate of SharePoint 2010 is providing a big push for organizations of every size to investigate that product in particular, and the gestalt in general. There are, of course, alternatives to SharePoint for collaboration platforms, and have been for some time. IBM’s Lotus suites, Alfresco, Zimbra Collaboration Suite from VMWare, Jive, and Collaba, among others, provide competitive offerings. Even social networking tools like Yammer, Sharetronix, and others are finding a place in the new E2.0 world
First, know thyself
So, what to do about this growing emphasis on sharing, collaborating,and social interaction? Well, the first thing to do is to invest time and energy in really understanding your business goals, objectives, and needs.
Any company looking to jump into E2.0 needs to know in detail what they do, why they do it, how they do it, when it needs to be done, and by whom – the tools they choose after gaining that insight will only provide value if they can effectively and efficiently support those clearly identified criteria.
Clear benefits equals buy-in
Any organization with the correct infrastructure can install any of the products mentioned above, and many others, but the real question is could they benefit from the implementation. Almost any company can indeed benefit from a SharePoint implementation (for example), but real value only comes after a thorough analysis and understanding is gained within the organization’s executive and user community of the what, why, how, when and who. If there is no such clear understanding and buy in then those users will revert to the same methods and tools they were using prior to rollout, and the shiny new collaboration platform will gather virtual dust.
Collaborative technology can empower your organization to succeed in new ways, but ensure you invest the appropriate time and effort upfront.
This article originally appeared in the Acrodex Blog. Take a look to find relevant and informative articles discussing everything that’s hot — and not — in the world of IT. Access the Blog here.
About Bruce Brososky and Acrodex
Bruce Brososky has been with Acrodex since July 2008. He is a Business Analyst whose primary responsibilities include project documentation, design and review of migration-related processes and communications facilitation. Bruce studied psychology at the University of Alberta. He is also a songwriter and plays bass in a classic rock cover band called Crosstown Traffic.
For over 25 years, Acrodex has been a leading provider of strategic IT services for Canadian business. Today, the company is one of Canada’s largest IT solution providers, and provides a full suite of IT services including: IT Architecture and Design, hardware provisioning, software licensing, network & server infrastructure, managed infrastructure support, application development and project management.
Acrodex customers include leading enterprise and medium sized organizations across the country, in such industry segments as the public sector, energy, healthcare, education, and oil and gas. The Acrodex team is comprised of over 600 dedicated IT professionals located in Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina and Vancouver.
Learn more about Acrodex here.