Culture & Competency

Research on Collaboration and SharePoint in the UK – All is Not Well

Fujitsu released results from a recent survey of IT managers in the UK (and maybe Ireland) on collaboration and SharePoint:

The research – commissioned by Fujitsu – shows that of all collaboration technologies, SharePoint is by far the most common. 92% of enterprise organisations using collaboration software use SharePoint and for over three-quarters of organisations (78%) SharePoint is the only collaboration technology that they use. But on average only 60% (3 in 5) of SharePoint sites are active; many organisations are clearly failing to maximise their SharePoint investment.

Furthermore, when looking more broadly at collaboration technology, IT managers are not confident about the benefits it brings. 59% believe that collaborative and content sharing applications will drive efficiency improvements within their enterprise but only 40% believe it will drive cost savings within their enterprise.

A few other findings:
– The success of collaboration technology is a “leap of faith for IT managers.”
– Less than a third of IT managers feel their organizations have the skills required to make collaboration happen to users’ satisfaction.

My Comments
1. I wrote a book for IT managers and others facing this situation – it’s called SharePoint Roadmap for Collaboration, and although I’ve sold out of the three printings, you can buy a copy from Amazon. It costs $10. Knock yourself out.

2. For those starting with collaboration tools and no strategy, take a look at my Intranets2011 conference presentation on this topic. It will give you a wider perspective on what’s required to deliver success.

3. I’m grateful to Fujitsu for commissioning the research, and acknowledge that third-parties such as Fujitsu can have a positive impact on helping organizations with collaboration technology at work – in particular areas. I see my work around collaboration strategy, governance, and user adoption being extremely complementary to the work that they would carry out.

2 replies »

  1. Thanks for sharing this research summary Michael.
    If people aren’t good at offline collaboration, you can’t expect them to get much value from online collaboration tools.
    Lots of folks don’t take a good hard look at what it means to collaborate effectively and what skills and behaviors make it happen. Also, a lot of companies don’t really foster a culture of collaboration.
    MEC, a retail company, launched a social, collaborative intranet and credits the successful adoption with their culture that supports communication, collaboration and initiative. (See the the case study:
    While the surveys out there may reference the technology, the real question is “how good are people at collaborating and how does the organizational culture impact the practice of collaboration?”

  2. Thanks for drawing our attention to this research, Michael.
    SharePoint is certainly a powerful tool but, with specific reference to document review and co-authoring, as we see it SharePoint offers a ‘tools and technologies’ approach. In other words, the environment and user interface is complex and requires users not only to be highly trained but also to act in a rational and courteous manner.
    The preparation and review of formal documentation is mission critical for many organizations and they are unlikely to find the uncontrolled, ‘anything goes’ environment (as offered by both Web Apps and the SharePoint/Office co-authoring environment) suitable or practical. Ultimately, regardless of the number of contributors, there has to be a single document owner responsible for the document’s content and for moving it forward. The document owner must therefore maintain control over the process and the content.
    Therefore it does not surprise us and, indeed, our marketing to the SharePoint community is that they can use the high user adoption of PleaseReview to drive SharePoint user adoption.