Charting the Future of Enterprise Collaboration: my Company   Leave a comment

My company has a strong history of careful, still very open collaboration and sharing.

How will we help evolve advanced enterprise collaboration and keep providing a tangible example of its benefits?

The current situation is rich and evolving. Here are the main domains and what is happening on each:

  • Instant messaging and presence: we have recently rolled out enterprise level services and are gradually converging from controlled, secure adoption of personal services to enterprise ones.
    The former has been a valuable example of initial adoption driven by end users: in my community at least, executive assistants first spread IM as a great near-synchronous, presence-sensitive communication tool supporting multiple parallel one-to-one threads and that turned presence services into a fact and a must; corporate IT decision was then a matter of how best rather than if.
    I expect the next wave of convergence to the enterprise tools – and associated conferencing capabilities, below – to be driven by user choice more than by corporate IT mandate.
  • Knowledge and document sharing: we arguably wrote the book of pre-internet document sharing integrated with asynchronous communication, including one of the largest and most successful platform migrations. Current document sharing and publishing tools at the project and community of practice level have probably achieved the same level of relative excellence we were proud of on dedicated platforms back in the early Nineties – on a much more advanced capability of course.
  • Asynchronous communication: we were late in adopting email compared to the academic and research community and companies that were born in that environment. We have built a number of add-on tools over time including a thriving email-powered set of discussion forums and recently a “grapevine” application to generate, derive and rate ideas. This grapevine is contributing to our communities’ engagement as well as to their innovation.
  • Social networking within the enterprise is the latest addition to our toolset, and I look forward to exploring its applications. I expect personal profiling will be a strong enabler, and look forward to it enabling a further leap forward in the effectiveness of our collaboration culture.
  • WIki, blogging and other tools are now available and have yet to establish a significant presence internally. I expect presence above and personal profiling will help them take root.
  • Enterprise personal profiling has been a relatively recent addition to our toolset, and may turn out to be a key enabler of our collaboration culture now that our company is an order of magnitude bigger, more diverse and complex than it was when email enabled the first big leap forward in collaboration. Today, I can find experts and understand their focus much better than before, and engage them more effectively.
  • Communication and conferencing: we currently have an overlap of historical centrex-based, voice-only conferencing tool, plus two modern VoIP-enabled voice, application- and screen-sharing tool sets that we have adopted one after the other.
    Convergence and choice here will probably be a matter both of central ICT actions and individual adoption.

To this day, email has remained the lifeblood of, asynchronous, collaboration, empowering a culture of careful, still very, very open sharing and readiness to invest in seeking and sharing information that predates our email adoption by years: I remember experienced joiners being amazed at that back in the early Nineties of the last century, and seasoned professionals then remembering similar feelings at least a decade before.

I am now exploring two main threads:

  • sharing the grapevine idea-evolution application *across* ca ompany and its external partners
  • leveraging 2.0 social networking within the company

Posted March 3, 2009 by Gianluca Marcellino in Uncategorized

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