Much thanks to Jeff Prillaman for pulling together his list of Enterprise 2.0 conference: Boston Notes, Quotes, Tweets 2 keep I think it's an excellent list and definitely provides some food for thought. The first link was very interesting to me and as Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths I felt each myth warranted more discussion. Let's begin with the first:
1. The right tools will make us collaborative
Technology can make it easier to collaborate when applications mirror a more intuitive, fluid work style, but selecting a tool without addressing roles, processes, metrics and the organization’s workplace climate is putting the cart before the horse.*
I could not agree more with this myth and the point that Gartner is making in that the tools need to first be evaluated against business processes and roles could not be more on target. It's easy to select a great collaboration tool, but if it doesn't provide value (genuine or perceived) to the person using it in their daily routine then it will not make people collaborative just by being available.
We know from Prof. Morten T. Hansen's book Collaboration How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity and Reap Big Results there are four major barriers to collaboration: search, transfer, "not invented here" (NIH) and hoarding. The right tools will help overcome the technical aspects of these barriers, but overcoming the cultural aspects of these barriers can only be addressed by leadership that rewards the use of the selected tools in a collaborative way.
One challenge with selecting the "right" tool is there are so many options and when purchase decisions occur independently, you end up with many options for the same "right" tool. I talk about this in an earlier blog Business Requirements vs. Business Applications: Putting the Cart Before the Horse... and how a lack of intra-company collaboration for the evaluation and procurement of business applications will lead to silos of tools that inhibit their use. In other words, in order to make the decision for the right tools you must collaborate across the organization before making the purchase decision. Understand what capabilities already exist in your environment and how you can leverage and build upon those investments to bring greater collaborative value to your business processes.