Findings – collaborative techs in the enterprise

This post by Irwin Lazar, from Collaboration Loop, …

I’ve been part of a team at Nemertes that has undertaken a project to benchmark how enterprises are supporting an increasing virtual workforce, including the use of tools such as VOIP, collaboration (both real-time and non-real time applications), and wireless/mobility strategies.

Being one of those ‘virtual’ employees … whereby I work from home – with the main office for my group is over 400 miles away … this topic is of great interest to me …

I find my group’s embracing or lack of embracing collaborative technologies to be both a source of satisfaction and frustration. So often, I am asked to present a hard-dollar-figure business case … how does this collaborative tool/tech increase our revenues? What increase in your productivity – multiplied by your dollar rate – blah blah blah …

There are different techs out there that are free to use …

Granted, the IT group will have to support it should it ever be adopted by the enterprise in any large measure … but that’s not the case right now … a handful of us want to use a tool – more like in a sandbox. Then we can learn from mistakes and collect the successes … and put together a formal business case for its wider adoption across the group.

For instance … one of the findings stated:

Demand for collaboration applications is primarily end-user driven rather than IT developing tools and pushing them outward on the hope that they will be used

The danger here is that we end users may get so frustrated with IT dragging their feet or raising objections unnecessarily … that there will be a shadow structure of collaborative techs that are flown under the radar … which kind of defeats the purpose of collaboration in the first place.

This cannot be about “us versus them” …

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About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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2 Responses to Findings – collaborative techs in the enterprise

  1. nkilkenny says:

    What you’ve written has just hit a chord with me. Is your group a small group that feeds into a larger corporation? It’s incredibly hard to bring these things up by oneself. Sometimes even though I work for a huge-honking mass of a company I find that it’s great because I can always team up and collaborate with other (via the communities of practice – COPs) and find groups that are applying the same/similar technologies. Also, I’m trying very hard in my group to build well written scenarios that descibe the possibilites for how changing over to new technologies can help us. I can’t put my finger on it, but I feel that corporations and ROI driven leaders may be shooting themselves in the foot by requiring hard data all the time and proof. Some endeavors require risk. There’s always the managed risk approach to doing things. And also don’t forget we can find support amongst fellow bloggers. Do check out “Seacat’s” blog linked on my site because she explores the use of wiki-tech (SocialText).

  2. Rory says:

    Thanks for the recommendation of Seacat’s blog. Will definitely check it out.

    My firm is very large – and we have dominant market share in our industry. However, my group was newly acquired a little more than one year ago. My group’s (we number about 60 people) function was outsourced from our previous employer … and part of the deal was that this firm was to take us on. The firm had been wanting to enter this space of learning design; and so it is a new business for them.
    So it’s oddly like being in a startup business with a HUGE wonking, global firm behind us.

    I think that because the firm itself is so big, they’ve come up with “cookie cutter” models for technology and ways to do business. But the nature of our work – producing things that get people learnin’ and such – is so radically different that what these cookie-cutter-IT-roadblock-heads are used to.

    I totally agree with you that those leaders who are so driven by numbers will shoot themselves in the foot … or drive our business into the ground.

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