More effective collaboration is a priority for many organisations, but in reality few have a consistent approach to introducing collaboration tools. Most have a hodge-podge of siloed new and legacy systems.
'Collaboration' is a term overused by vendors, often for their own ends. But it means enabling people engaged in a common task to work together effectively on either a formal or ad hoc basis to realise their goals.
Useful collaboration applications range from email to groupware and from videoconferencing to social-networking tools such as blogs and wikis.
Mark Adams, unified communications and collaboration practice manager at IT services provider Logicalis, says there are two key reasons for organisations to undertake collaboration projects at the moment. "One is to improve the integration of what they already have and the other is to spend money to resolve key business problems," he says.
But a major challenge for IT managers in this context is that such projects are often handed over to them to solve from a technical perspective, when in fact they are business initiatives that involve changing the corporate culture, business processes and staff behaviour.
That core element of change management means such projects can become poison chalices and need to be handled with care. There are four key areas to focus on to help collaboration work more smoothly.