“Collaboration is no longer painful – or precious.”
Collaboration is a vital thing for every organization success and I won’t keep harping on it. But there’s a wide range of aspects to consider if you want your corporate information network to be efficient. No doubt, the use of internal collaboration tools eases employee communications, thus increasing their productivity. But is it a common practice for companies to leverage such tools? Recently I came across an interesting poll at CMSWiRE regarding intranet use. Results turned out to be surprising. 11% of 1,417 respondents don’t use intranet at all! 17% basically use intranet as an information depository and still don’t have any good collaboration tools. It seems strange that internal social networking isn’t so widely spread within organizations in the enterprise 2.0 era.
The poll results made me think of the main obstacle in the way to collaboration tools proper use. I don’t believe those 28% don’t need the tools or can’t afford or choose appropriate ones. Today you can build pretty fantastic intranet sites with software available at reasonable cost or for free. It shouldn’t even be the question or the constraint. The problem is that slick intranet doesn’t equal good communications. Intranet is not only the software, it’s the information. The use of the intranet depends on the content, its timeliness and accessibility. And if the content is not quite what employees would either need or want to know, intranet portal will never become popular within your company.
The key question that needs to be asked is the purpose of your corporate portal. Internal tools can become an effective means of consolidating various operations and information, e.g. company contacts and policies, announcements and events, tasks and project management etc. So, get some strategy around what you intend an intranet to achieve and ensure that everyone in your company understands the necessity of internal social networking. Pay much attention to user generated content and keep all information up to date to engage employees to a greater extent. It’s very important to make knowledge sharing a part of your project team or company culture when there would be no intention for hiding information in somebody’s personal interest. If everyone supports and contributes to knowledge exchange, in this case only it will lead to productivity growth and communications improvement.
As a conclusion, I would say that people’s support and motivation for using software comes first and corporate portal itself always comes second. So don’t let collaboration be painful. 😉