Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (May 23, 2008)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Ideas on recruiting for virtual collaboration and virtual teams: (1) hiring based on age alone is doomed to fail, (2) there are cognitive and behavioral skills that individuals need to have, such as executive function. “Executive function is a cognitive system that is theorized to control other cognitive systems. Executive function is thought to be related to planning ability, cognitive flexibility, abstract thinking, and acting appropriately for a situation. The NPR stories talked about how several cultural forces have come together since the mid-20th century to make for less development of executive function in children. In one of the stories, cultural historian Howard Chudacoff explains that, starting in the 1950s, toys became increasingly specific (e.g. a fire truck); parents began buying more of these specific toys for their kids, so children played less with sticks or other found objects. Simultaneously, parents became more worried about their kids, and less comfortable letting them simply play outside in the neighborhood or the park unattended with other children. Parents also began to worry about achievement at an early age, to the point where many see unstructured free time as time lost learning specific skills.
  • Six rules to clear communication in virtual situations (teams, groups, etc.): (1) build trust face-to-face and grow that trust with clear expectations, (2) manage results, not activity, (3) schedule regular communication, (4) create communication that saves time – not kills it, (5) create standards that build a cohesive culture, and (6) define rules of responsiveness.
  • Tom Davenport on the two types of collaboration: focused collaboration with clear business objectives, and collaborative tools for social or infrastructural purposes. The use of either requires an understanding of which is best suited to the situation at hand. “Perhaps the underlying issue is that collaboration for business purposes is real work. It needs to be managed like any other project or process. Having a technology to facilitate the collaboration makes it easier, but it’s still work. Social networks for social purposes, on the other hand, are fun. Infrastructural collaborative tools are only a little bit of fun (if everybody puts in a lot of juicy details about their kids, your hobbies, your pets, etc.), but they are intended to make organizational life more efficient. It’s when we don’t have a clear understanding of what’s work, and what’s fun, that we get into trouble.
  • Todd outlines barriers to Enterprise 2.0 adoption: (1) awareness, (2) education, (3) political, (4) cultural, (5) social, and (6) technology. He also offers a visual model of these barriers.

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • NewsGator added collaborative filtering capabilities from SenseArray to its online RSS newsreader, for telling readers about other stories they should check out. “The unique combination of relevance data gathered from NewsGator’s users and SenseArray’s powerful filtering delivers an innovative recommendation system giving users great stories from feeds they’ve never seen.
  • One CIO on the value of investing in Cisco TelePresence: (1) the technology is good enough so the people in the rooms can make sense of the non-verbal cues, and (2) decisions that would previously have to wait until “the next meeting” can now happen that day.
  • TextFlow is in private beta of a collaborative document authoring and editing. “ … eventually, authors will be able to drag Word documents right into the browser where they’ll get automatically ported into TextFlow. Once there, they’ll be shareable via email and editable by collaborators. All changes will show up in the original author’s view of the document as suggested changes, which can then be approved or rejected.” Textflow calls it parallel word processing. They differentiate this from a “serial” word processor.
  • IntraLinks added new compliance capabilities for loan syndication professionals in its online secure workspace offering. “Access Gatekeeper centralises workspace access control for compliance and audit departments monitoring the behaviour of “at risk” staff who are involved in sales and trading of public securities and private loans. Compliance, legal and internal audit officers using Access Gatekeeper can limit access to specific information posted on IntraLinks at the enterprise, individual or deal level while receiving daily compliance reports of user activity within their respective organisations. The new functionality was introduced to help asset management and investment firms, in particular, control exposure of material, non-public information about publicly held companies raising money in the non-public loan market.
  • ClearContext introduced ClearContext Personal, a free add-in for Microsoft Outlook. “This free Outlook add-in helps people organize their email and make their inbox (and email experience) just plain better. At ClearContext, we have years of experience solving information overload challenges for email power users who deal with incredible amounts of email while managing multiple concurrent projects within Outlook. In talking to lots of individuals and companies about those problems, we’ve found that it’s not just those users that are overwhelmed with email; it seems like just about all business email users are frustrated with email and feel stressed trying to keep up with it. With ClearContext Personal, we expand the reach of our solutions to all Outlook email users who want a better answer to dealing with email overload.
  • Chris outlines two scenarios about how Lotus Quickr supports in-context collaboration. “In my experience as a collaborative technologies consultant, once you get people on board with the idea that collaboration is important and valuable for them, the next hurdle is getting them to actually use the tools. Lotus Quickr with the Quickr Connectors makes a very compelling case for simplifying adoption and helping your users get over that hurdle. I think we’ll see this idea of collaboration in context start to embed itself in more and more collaborative tools and I am really looking forward to that experience. I know for me that working with Quickr has been a pretty enjoyable ride so far.

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Matt asks What If? Many good “if’s” and (good) consequences.
  • Mark has rounded up a great collection of articles on sleep. “Sleep is one of those little things we often overlook that can make or break our productivity. Here are 10 great articles with tips and thoughts on how to get the most out of your sleep.
  • Did you give it your all today? Were you fully engaged?
  • Thinking negative thoughts and having an attitude of negativity will sap your energy. “Attitude, whether positive or negative, is contagious; so what type are you spreading? Being negative takes extra energy you could otherwise be channeling into your favorite pursuits. Instead of sowing discord wherever you go, learn how to cultivate tolerance instead of impatience; optimism rather than pessimism; and gratitude versus an ungrateful spirit.

Other Noteworthy Insights

  • Step Two in Australia is growing, and looking for good people. “We’re looking for great people to join the consulting team, working in the fields of intranets, information management, collaboration, content management and knowledge management. This includes conducting field research, developing intranet and information management strategies, mentoring teams, developing best-practice resources, running workshops, and more.” You have to be in Australia, however.

Categories: Industry Updates