I’ll be speaking at a breakfast briefing in London UK on the 20th November on the subject of ‘How to get the most value out of collaborative technologies‘ for Fujitsu Services, whose Graeme Mackay, Business Manager of Corporate Information Systems, will also talk about Fujitsu’s experiences around implementations and their internal usage. If you’d like to attend here’s the link.
Making the business case for collaboration at an executive level has taken on new meaning during the economic climate that unfolded over the last 14 months, culminating in the collapse of international credit markets. Even assuming lending markets recover, the low tide has exposed many weaknesses in business models.
Framing collaboration ROI arguments for tight budgets, a strong case can be made that the holistic approach to managing people and data provides added value. The big players – msft, ibm, orcle, sap – have typically baked ‘me to’ innovation into point upgrades of their offerings, creating a significant lag time between innovation and implementation. This model has been nibbled away at by Enterprise 2.0 tools inspired largely by the advertising driven web 2.0 consumer marketplace. Many of these tools are adopted in a relatively ad hoc way by business units and employees, with IT departments then often forced to close them down due to perceived ip leak risks, which can make IT unpopular even thought they are only executing their mandated security responsibilities….
Meanwhile employees - past, present and future - are increasingly externally interconnected as never before thanks to social networking, blogs, micro blogs /im and email. An information vacuum often builds up, with the rarefied air inside the enterprise. This is one of the causes of increasing uptake of shadow IT applications, people utilizing similar tools to the ones they use in everyday life to help get their job done at work.
The pressure on IT can be immense: executive management can see the utility in business units of enterprise 2.0/shadow IT, but planning formal usage strategy and tactics can be extremely challenging, particularly in large heterogeneous enterprises which are an amalgamation of often disparate business units.
Identifying internal use models and associated processes is key to budgeting around coherent internal strategic planning. We are essentially talking about specific business process aids and not a Swiss army knife toolset that can be picked up to try and solve problems.
Mark Hennessy, IBM CIO said today at the Business Technology Conference in Boston “Business process before tools. I don't want to automate chaos anymore”.
Gathering requirements and identifying processes is cheap compared to technology purchase and roll out – and are an invaluable component of a compelling strategic board level case. Successful justification of strategy around people and processes results in executive acceptance of tactical decisions around the integration of appropriate solutions.
The ad agency Universal McCann for example unifies 60 disparate offices worldwide using SharePoint 2007 along with social networking profiles technology from RSS vendor NewsGator. Providing a contextual stream of business data is the lifeblood of business communication, whether R&D or sales.
It is this connectivity which is the real power of collaboration; smaller scale ad hoc adoption of enterprise 2.0 technologies tends to hit its organizational head against the ceiling above a certain number of users. 60 disparate offices with 60 different work processes and associated technologies doesn’t scale well and is a major organizational headache, not to mention 60 different cost decisions.
Defining an overarching strategy for all business units provides a common goal, significant cost savings and ultimately the greater efficiencies that will help companies thrive in tough times...