Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (June 18, 2008)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Dion summarizes key lessons about Enterprise 2.0 tools: (a) we are past the early adopter phase, (b) many organizations still actively discourage social computing, (c) Enterprise 2.0 changes the lines of expertise in organizations, (d) there are lots of new vendors, and (e) successful pilots can lead to political battles.
  • Key priorities and drivers for CEOs and CIOs … increased collaboration and technological change, according to a recent survey by Farkas Berkowitz. “In the survey, CIOs and CEOs agree that IT could have a greater impact on knowledge and work sharing across organizations and geographic boundaries, productivity and competitive advantage.
  • In another recent survey, Genesys Conferencing found that 90% of UK firms are using some form of virtual collaboration tools, with 67% going for conferencing of some form. “Companies are also using virtual collaboration tools more frequently. Nearly one third (29%) of respondent businesses are using virtual conferencing on a daily basis, with a further 45% every week. Financial services businesses lead the field here, with 83% using conferencing tools weekly or more frequently.
  • How do we make effective use of email, so it adds to an organization and its workers rather than drowning them. “We have an amazingly powerful tool called email. Yet we haven’t yet figured out how to harness its capabilities. As a result, it slows down our ability to do the very work that it was supposed to expedite. We spend the majority of our time dealing with email, rather than dealing with our actual work. Until we have this conversation about how to utilize the technology, we run the risk of, to quote Thoreau, becoming the tool of our tools.
  • Companies looking at Enterprise 2.0 tools are finding that the users are the biggest stumbling block, because they have “inertia” about changing from doing work with the tools they know to a new suite of tools they don’t know. “Dennehy’s colleague, Intellipedia Doyen Don Burke, had a broader explanation for why user pickup has been notable but still slow. He said the rapid change of the working environment in general leaves different segments of the workforce with a completely different idea of how to work. Many people facing retirement began working when offices didn’t even have computers, he said. Now new hires are coming in ready to blog and contribute to shared pools of information.

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Mindjet released Mindjet Connect, a collaborative workspace and shared project area that includes real-time mind map collaboration. “Mindjet Connect is a hosted software-as-a-service offering that delivers three levels of functionality: the core MindManager mind mapping application; secure online workspaces where teams can co-create and edit maps simultaneously, as well as store and edit any kind of file; and unified communications tools like instant meetings, messaging and whiteboards. Teams can now use Mindjet Connect to collaborate on maps in real time. Real-time editing streamlines work processes and communications and minimises headaches and time-consuming version-control issues caused by emailing files back and forth. Individuals can store maps and any other documents in secure workspaces with version control and different access levels for various team members.” Available immediately.
  • CMSWatch is concerned that the supporting IT infrastructure is not available or is immature for Enterprise 2.0 and social software products. “Results from the CMS Watch study were not encouraging. While enterprise customers showed increasing interest in extending internal social tools outside the firewall, vendors had difficulty supporting customers’ internal and external environments at the same time. CMS Watch attributes the problem to significantly different functional, performance, and security profiles of both environments.
  • Funambol announced $12.5 million in funding and the signing of AOL as a customer. “With 3.3 billion (with a “B”) mobile phones in the world and only two percent accessing email from those 850 different phones, Funambol has a huge, untapped market ahead of it. The company’s technology is already capable of reaching 1.5 billion of those devices, and its open-source nature helps it to get broader device coverage faster without the company having to invest in doing so. Its community of users (two million downloads and counting) does much of the work.

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Nicholas Bate has a number of new booklets out … 14 Books for Radicals and Blackberry Fool, to name two. The latter starts out, “The Blackberry is a wireless hand-held device …. When used effectively it is a remarkably useful device. This booklet describes what happens when it is used badly.
  • Laura looks at the factors that boost and bust productivity in a working environment, such as ergonomics, repetitive strain, lighting, color schemes, and more. Her last point deals with noise, “Reduce background noise. Studies show that constant low-level noise in open-style offices increases stress and lowers motivation, and impairs the brain’s cognitive function in the prefrontal cortex. One way around this is to listen to music while you work, especially if you use a set of noise-reducing headphones.
  • Matt looks at balancing inputs and outputs, and finds that the best situation is where margin exists. “You’ve got some amount of buffer built in to your life. You can afford a few days of letting things pile up, and emptying is not usually a problem.

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