Tools & Technologies

Multi-Enterprise Collaboration: A Real Situation, and a Real Answer

Think about this …

  • You work for one organization, but routinely have to work alongside other people from other organizations. The IT systems from your organization are different and incompatible with the IT systems they use.
  • You do not always have a connection to the network — you’re “offline” or disconnected frequently. Lack of connectivity isn’t something you can fix by purchasing a 3G modem from a mobile carrier either, as network coverage isn’t good enough in many places you work.
  • Security of information is critical, as you are dealing with private and sensitive information about clients.

The question is: how do you collaborate and share information with other people in such a situation? Hosted services that are only browser-based won’t work.

While in London today, I had a meeting with a Microsoft business partner who has been using Groove to address the above situation in the healthcare industry in England.
– Health professionals from multiple agencies have to work together to deliver care to patients, increasingly in the home.
– As care is delivered at the point of need — in the home whenever possible — network connectivity is not guaranteed. The system has to be designed from day one to support offline work.
– Enabling multiple health professionals to access a collection of notes about a patient is essential to effective health delivery. Paper and faxing stuff around doesn’t work.
– Information about patients is highly sensitive, and so security over who has access to it, under what conditions, and for what duration of time is key.

The person I met–Ray–is the leader of a Microsoft business partner firm, and he talked about how the technology of Groove is perfectly positioned to support this scenario. And with the greater integration between the Groove technology in the Office 2010 wave and SharePoint 2010, there is an ability to use SharePoint as the backbone for information management and sharing, after the collaborative endeavor around healthcare delivery has finished.

One of the themes that Ray talked about during our discussion was how the technology is available now, but health executives don’t realize what’s possible. Education is a big part of the challenge. Getting people to understand what CAN be done with today’s technology, and breaking through with new concepts and ideas, is both time consuming and very fulfilling when they get it. Whipping out a notebook and roughing up a proof-of-concept solution to a problem on the spot is a very powerful way of demonstrating possibilities.

If you’d like to know more, or get an introduction to Ray, please contact me.

Categories: Tools & Technologies