It’s interesting to think about why enterprise collaboration is starting to gain momentum and traction (which it is). A large part of it is due to the consumer web, platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare, and the like. As individuals we have become quite used to and accustomed to what these tools allow us to do. It has become so easy for us to create, share, find, and engage with people and information that we expect these same types of capabilities to be available within the enterprise. The evolution of the consumer web is far outpacing the evolution in the enterprise and organizations are struggling to adapt.
Facebook alone has almost 1 billion users world wide so it’s quite apparent that this is something important to pay attention to. It’s rare to come across someone nowadays that isn’t using some form of social media yet inside of many companies employees are still being subjected to static intranets and legacy systems that just aren’t that efficient and useful anymore.
When I talk to organizations who are interested in collaboration I ask them, “Why now? Why didn’t you make the investment 6 months ago or last year?” Many of the responses I get sound something like this, “we did a company survey around our workplace and many employees feel as though they are not working efficiently, their engagement levels are low, and that communication and collaboration is a big area that they want to see improved.” So, some companies are indeed listening to their employees and taking the necessary first steps in moving towards collaboration.
Culture and technology have been two interesting areas that have evolved quite a bit. People have become much more comfortable living a public life. We post blogs, share pictures on Facebooks, connect with people and voice our ideas on Twitter, tell people where we are on Foursquare, and build professional relationships on Linkedin. Why then is is to hard for us to accomplish basic tasks inside of our companies such as being able to find people and information or to get everyone aligned on a project?
It’s not a coincidence that so many of the enterprise collaboration platforms today look almost exactly like Facebook. If you were to compare many of the collaboration vendors today side by side you would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between them.
As the consumer web continues to evolve at such a rapid pace it’s going to become even more challenging for enterprises to keep up. Fortunately, we are seeing more companies starting to move in the right direction of collaboration.