Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (May 30, 2008)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • With our workforce being composed of three generations, we need to learn how to work effectivelyw with people from other generations. “By using the unique characteristics of different generation to compliment each other and to effect the sharing and transfer of unique viewpoints and knowledge, teams can become stronger, more effective, and also provide increased development of each team member.” Elizabeth lays out 6 steps: (1) consider the events that occurred during their teen years, (2) know what motivates each generation, (3) build and motivate a balanced team, and more.
  • A 15-minute podcast on setting up physical and virtual workspaces to increase productivity.
  • British employers are reticient to support work-at-home programs. “That hesitance comes despite the fact that 30 per cent of employers who do offer telecommuting say they believe home-based workers are more productive and just 8 per cent think they are less productive, with the rest believing it makes no difference to productivity at all, the study found.
  • Be careful about the words you use: they create entirely different mindsets. “In 2005 I was working in a change project. The project team were the ‘head office’ representatives. One of the team asked for my feedback on a meeting agenda he was putting together for a group of key business stakeholders. I read the first bullet point on his powerpoint slide and told him … “if I received this from you I wouldn’t attend”. He was very taken aback till I explained that his first bullet point was ‘to agree on the XYZ model’ and that he had obviously made up his mind what he wanted to do and he appeared to be planning to spend the meeting trying to convince people that what he had already decided was correct. I suggested he change the agenda item to read ‘discuss the pros and cons of adopting the XYZ model’. He immediately understood that this creates an entirely different mindset and he later reported that the meeting was quite productive.
  • Should we send an email to say “thank you”?There are many instances when a thank you message should be sent. This is often overlooked during our busy schedule; however, not saying thank you can leave a substantial negative impression on team members. The example I noted above about my colleague serves as the perfect example of when a thank you message is appropriate and not just a waste of space. I spent time writing my reply to his question and a simple thank you was in order. Because of my colleague’s lack of etiquette in this communication, I am hesitant to go out of my way for him in the future.

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Clarizen noted that its Version 2.1 release is “just weeks away”; Clarizen is an online project management offering. “Some of the new features include: Advanced html-based Reporting, User Hourly Rates, Advanced Budget, Outlook Plug-ins, Custom Logo, Firefox Support, Links to web-based documents, Clarizen SOA, Email User Note Submission
  • Glowpoint released the Telepresence Exchange Network, to enable customers with different telepresence systems to talk together. “The Telepresence Exchange Network service [is] designed to solve the challenge of placing telepresence video calls between companies on different networks as well as enabling video calls to existing conference room and desktop environments. The TEN service enables customers to easily “plug” into a high quality, secure public interconnect service and perform business-to-business and network-to-network video calling.
  • Messaging Architects released a VMWare edition of M+Guardian, its email risk management platform. “M+Guardian filters inbound and outbound emails for security threats, such as malware, confidential data leakage, and offensive or inappropriate content, and blocks them based on an organization’s email policies and the roles and responsibilities of individuals. This helps organizations to comply with regulations, such HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and ensure business continuity.
  • PTC announced CoCreate 2008, a collaborative 3D modeling environment.

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Too many interruptions breaks focus and concentration, with huge results. “Other patients I have treated tell me that they gave up hope for advanced training or for advanced degrees because they cannot focus long enough to master new skills or new knowledge. The modern workplace may itself be accelerating the costs. Voicemail, e-mail, text messaging, video conferencing and telecommuting translate to a free flow of ideas, rapid transfer of information, and flexible lifestyles. But they also call for quick changes of focus and self-direction. For those with ADHD, the information super- highway can look a lot more like a maze.
  • Thoughts on finding the perfect productivity system for you: (1) know your working habits — that is, when are you most productive, (2) research what’s been done before, (3) experiment with your schedule, in order to find your peak working hours, (4) aim for the simplest tools, and (5) know that it’s a dynamic process. “Don’t be disappointed if the process takes a little longer than you initially hoped for. It’s not something you can expect to figure out within an hour of reading this article. It’s something that will require a bit of introspection and time before you get it right. After all, there’s no universally perfect productivity system, there’s just a perfect one for you.

Other Noteworthy Insights

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