Collaboration and Business Social – right now, pretty much of a failure. Why?

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Collaboration and Business Social – right now, pretty much of a failure. Why?

A couple of years ago, CIO’s were adamant that they did not want collaboration tools. Understandably, collaboration tools do open security issues, loss of control, costs, and management. But the tide has changed. Now, (I say because of constant vendor hype), CIO’s are willing and even anxious to jump on the collaboration and social bandwagon.

One moment please. It seems that end user adoption is a problem now – a real problem. It happens in many ways, no one adopts it because it just doesn’t fit into their day-to-day business activities, in some cases you have rapid adoption until end users realize that the tool really isn’t providing any value and usage drops off, leaving a ghost town, and sometimes management actually changes the processes so the tools is no longer doing what it is meant to do. You also have to deal with corporate culture, complexity of the tool, standardization, work-arounds, and on-going engagement.

What is collaboration supposed to do? Most CIO’s think of collaboration and social as something they must have, the “everyone’s doing it syndrome”, but don’t think of the why. It’s much easier to select a records management application than a collaboration tool. Let’s get back to the basics. Collaboration is supposed to make end users job easier, increase productivity, share corporate knowledge, eliminate emails, unnecessary meetings, and other time-consuming activities. Quite a laundry list. According to Joel Confino, CEO and Founder of the enterprise Q&A platform Haydle, “There’s a lot of failures in enterprise collaboration, loosely termed, because people don’t really know what they’re aiming for so obviously they don’t hit it.”

CIO’s need to step back and treat collaboration as a business application, with objectives, expected outcomes, and ROI. They also need to engage the end users, after all they are the ones who are going to be using it. A long term strategy also needs to be in place. Are they going to buy collaboration tools piecemeal and hope they all work together along with the integration headaches? Are they going to go with vendors such as Google or Microsoft and add functionality as needed, even if it doesn’t quite fit the objectives? Do they want an on-premise tool, or use the cloud? There’s a lot of decisions to be made.

Any thoughts on collaboration or social tools that were implemented at your organization and if they failed or succeeded and why?