On slashdot a couple of days ago I read this interesting article on collaboration, which I found to be quite insightful. It also strikes pretty close to home, as I’m in process of putting together a paper for an internal collaboration conference, which says much the same thing, that current collaboration techniques like email remain king, and the right solution is not to try to replace them with the next wizbangy thing.
The two most interesting bits I found were:
99.9% of all knowledge workers use email. Understanding and using email has become synonymous with ‘using the telephone.’ Email crosses the boundaries of Language, Country, Creed, Geography and Origin. Everyone has it. Everyone uses it. This is largely because email enjoys the industry standard protocol of SMTP. The “SMTP Pipe” ensures that any user in the world can participate and interact via email, no matter what email client software they are running.
Collaboration Software is still difficult to access. This is mostly for good reason as business users are, and should be, concerned with security; but the accessibility of collaboration software often falls prey to the IT department’s insatiable appetite for restricting, controlling and limiting employee access to mission critical tools. To date, even the most advanced collaboration solutions only provide limited mobile device access and functionality.
I’ve run into that last one more times than I care to count over the last few years.