Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (May 8, 2008)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • CEO Online offers an extensive overview of how to set up a remote workforce. Key parts: (a) main motivating factors for businesses looking at a remote workforce, (b) disadvantages of remote working, (c) how to get started, and (d) the main steps towards implementing remote work.
  • Virtual distance between team members can lead to a host of problems and negatives, including reduced innovation effectiveness, declining trust, and reduced work satisfaction. A couple of authors share what they see as the antidote: (1) communication clarity, (2) cultural sensitivity, (3) context sensitivity, (4) boundary spanning, (5) advocacy, (6) shared leadership, and (7) leader intent.
  • John outlines a number of email examples that could be shifted to different tools, such as a blog or a wiki. “This post is not just focusing on communication type blog posts, in fact it’s not focusing on blogs at all. It’s going through example emails and proposing how that email could be re-purposed.
  • Where’s the value of Web 2.0 offerings to HR? “Honestly, I’m struggling with what we’re using Web 2.0 for and wondering why it’s useful. Do we really need blogs for recruiting, or wiki’s for employer branding? Is a social network useful? I’m a huge advocate of 2 things that have to do with Web 2.0: (1). Networks are indeed very useful if we employe them for the enhancement of collaboration or innovation; (2). Web 2.0 is great when it comes to usability. Those 2 items aside, I’m not sure Web 2.0 is really adding that much value to HR. Perhaps I’m not a visionary, or perhaps I just haven’t seen it work yet. But unless we’re using this stuff to really create value, we’re just spinning our wheels and focusing on the wrong things.
  • Email or a wiki for planning the next Scout camp? One person has gone the latter route this year, and found it great, but still has questions. “I set up a wiki for the leaders. It’s a private wiki so I’m sorry I can’t share the link. I will however say that we’re using PBwiki, which I find to be superior to Wetpaint in terms of editing as well as help. But that aside, so far it’s been helping us keep track of personnel and manpower, topics of discussion, a couple of things to be noted, schedules, equipment lists and so on.
  • John Chambers from Cisco weighs in on the power of collaboration: (a) great for productivity and innovation within the organization, (b) the people are the most important part of the collaboration strategy — and you have to match that with the right technology, (c) collaboration is about changing how we do business, (d) collaboration changes leadership from command-and-control to many-to-many; and collaboration allows more leaders within the organization to come to the fore and help with the organizations; and (e) “why now?” … to get to any content from any device from wherever you are. Cisco’s role in collaboration: shifting from merely being a plumber, to delivering a more intelligent network and platform.
  • Is your team working on the same idea or a ghost image of the idea? “It reminded me that what he’s talking about is a common phenomenon. Until I find a better description, I’m referring to the misunderstood images of the original idea as Idea Ghost Images, a reference to the shadow images you get on television when you have problems with the antenna. They are a reflection of the original images, but they’re off. And the more of them you have, the greater the problem. Have you seen this happen in your business world? Where there’s an idea being discussed but each person imagines something slightly (or maybe more than slightly) different? And sometimes companies will move forward and commit to budgets and tasks and strategy without realizing that each person is agreeing to something different. That can cause a whole lot of problems.” Tim has a solution …

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Web 2.0 technology is changing the way the enterprise software vendors have to think and deliver their tools. “Deighton stressed the importance of simplicity, but cautioned that keeping things simple should not be confused with making them simplistic. To illustrate his point he used the example of Salesforce.com versus SAP, Gmail versus Outlook, and a project that QlikTech has undertaken in partnership with Danish airline Sterling to revamp the bookings section of its website with a more user-oriented and visual interface.
  • Tine 2.0 is being developed as a replacement for eGroupWare, the open source groupware product. They have a blog.
  • WebMessenger announced WebMessenger Mobile for Microsoft Office Communications Server, a mobile client for Microsoft’s IM and presence offering that works on BlackBerry devices. “WebMessenger Mobile for Microsoft OCS provides the mobile unified communications tools that drive employee productivity, reduce operational expenses and greatly increase workplace appeal to tech-savvy, younger recruits. Each of these aspects contributes significant operational and competitive advantages to companies that deploy and encourage the use of Microsoft OCS and BlackBerrys throughout their organizations.
  • RIM says that is not tied to mobile phone form factors. This means that RIM could be working on an iPhone killer.
  • Ten reasons why SharePoint implementations fail: (1) seeing SharePoint as merely a replacement for shared files, (2) merely using the default sites, (3) not doing any capacity planning, (4) throwing sites out to Joe User, and (5) getting carried away and trying to do too much at once. The next five are coming. See also Michael Watson on file shares vs. SharePoint.

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Some great snippets of thoughts from Matt Cornell, on productivity and the like. Eg, the “put pocket”, reading in the bathroom, post-project celebrations, and much more. Love the format Matt!
  • If only … we could stay completely engaged in our work. “A recently released study of 88,612 workforce members in 18 countries by Towers Perrin finds that only 21 percent of employees are engaged in their current work. In fact, 38 percent of workers feel partly to fully disengaged.
  • How does a boss increase the productivity of a team? By asking them for their ideas. “If they are codependent upon you and hesitate to speak up, walk out of the room and let them deal with that question. And ask them to bring forth their highest and best recommendations. If they are not codependent upon you, stay in the room and participate. If they push back on you, that’s fine. If you can push back on them without them feeing threatened, you have the basis for synergy and for using third-alternative solutions.
  • HBR on time management: (1) break your responsibilities into categories, (2) ask what percentage of time to spend in each category, and (3) check alignment with colleagues and superiors. See Harvard Business Online. “To-do lists will be only marginally useful if you don’t set parameters for how much time to devote to each task. When you make your list, carefully estimate the time each task will take, and box it into your calendar. This discipline not only will help you finish your list, but it also will improve your ability to estimate time and manage expectations of those around you. Particularly if you are in a new position or are confronting new tasks, ask for help estimating the time for each task—otherwise, you run the risk of missing deadlines and mismanaging expectations.

Other Noteworthy Insights

  • Galen argues that a “no Macs” strategy is no longer a defensible IT strategy in business. “IT can embrace that Mac momentum, not just tolerate it, thanks to several shifts in computing that make the Mac a better enterprise fit than in the past—first and foremost being a rising threat to Microsoft’s other mainstay in the enterprise desktop environment, Internet Explorer.
  • The Lotus Sametime team has a blog.

Categories: Industry Updates