As I alluded to in my last post, time is the capital of well organized collaboration. Time can equal money, and lots of it, when you are using less while simultaneously being more efficient. I cited careful evaluation of time spent against value accrued in using Twitter, the emerging 'micro blogging' platform, in my previous post as an example. Something which has been a valuable use of time can change and needs monitoring closely.
The challenge of adopting multitudes of innovative 2.0 and mobile applications is that they may make you more efficient as an individual but scaling use to multiple people can be very challenging.
An example might be Tungle, the slick lightweight scheduling software that works across browser and iphone. Like many 2.0 offerings, for scheduling small groups Tungle is a wonderous thing. you can daisy chain Tungle so it speaks to your Microsoft Outlook, Google calendar, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Ning, Twitter, iphone & ical, and now as a beta with the venerable Lotus Notes (which claims over 300 million users in business).
Great product, saves time scheduling meetings, great interface, what's not to like?
Identity management. This is no reflection on Tungle individually, but the time spent logging in and out of multiple applications can easily eat the time saved using them.
Identity - your great raft of usernames and passwords for different applications - are the bridge toll traffic jam of productivity. For a group of collaborators, if some users have access to a system or groups within a system but others don't the time suck of getting everyone organized can be enormously costly.
The previous generation of enterprise software - the portal - kept many thousands of developers busy on single sign-on projects so that employees could log in once to a compendium of applications.
The time and hair pulling out saved by removing sometimes dozens of different locks on different software applications while administering who-could-use-what in a centralized location was seen as of major value.
The current mania for all things 'social' online celebrates the freedom of the individual, sometimes in a rather shrill way. For the technology enthusiast who enjoys picking up on the latest trends it's a point of pride to be using the latest gear. This fashion scene is a small minority of users however, with the average Facebook user oblivious to their privacy settings.
The premise of individual business users going freestyle in using tools of their choice - putting aside the fundamentals of firewall security and the legal viability and security of storing information in the cloud - can be a very efficient way to mobilize small teams using technology that allows them to work more efficiently.
Attempting to coordinate multiple groups using different sets of tools in a broader enterprise setting can be enormously challenging and time consuming, again because of identity management issues.
The IBM enthusiasts congregating in Florida this week for Lotusphere, the annual evangelical big tent for folks living in that software universe are very familiar with the benefits of scale. Many Notes installations are huge, along with a complex ecosphere of Domino databases and associated applications.
The challenge for the end users of these larger systems are legacy (many large companies are still on Lotus Notes 6.5, and are likely to be standardized around old Microsoft browser software). Lotus Notes calendaring is arguably its strongest point in many businesses, for whom the more recent IBM collaboration products are in the future, aside from the email client.
Tungle's Notes integration beta aims to lighten the glacial speed issues of some Notes installs while adding flexibility by speeding meeting scheduling. The bigger question is whether integrations such as this will ultimately make sense in the overall time-is-money equation.
i would say that a mandate to improve business with good organization, Tetrising newer applications into the jigsaw so they work well with legacy infrastructure, will almost always yield results. It's sometimes surprising how limited that mandate can be due to turf wars, the other time efficiency killer for technology scaling solutions of all shapes and sizes.
Video: Tungle.Me CEO Marc Gingras demos the Tungle integration within Lotus Notes