Overcoming Resistance to Business Collaboration Tools

Bill Gerneglia

Establishing reliable communication channels throughout an organization is an essential ingredient for effective collaboration across working groups. CIOs understand that the proper collaboration tools and platforms have the potential to make their organizations more innovative and competitive in the industry in which they compete. Many CIOs and IT managers have staff that often resist these new collaboration tools and dismiss them as unproductive distractions.

CIOs know better and argue that some of the most compelling reasons often cited for the introduction of collaboration tools include the fact that in today's global economy, collaboration is a key to building a connected, engaged, and sustainable organization. CIOs in their leadership role are trying to build a collaborative organization through enabling the employees via emerging tools. This arms them so they are capable of much more when they collaborate to achieve their goals.

As competitive industry pressures increase and organizations seek growth and expansion while dealing with macroeconomic factors such as a slow global economy, it becomes increasingly evident to CIOs and the C-Suite at large why they need to strive towards a more collaborative organization. Emerging collaborative tools can serve as the important links that keep employees connected in meaningful ways.

Employees are increasingly working from multiple physical locations on multiple network access devices and very often with other employees they have never met in person. Smart organizations need a way to connect all of those employees to enable them to collaborate and share institutional knowledge. Where does the employee resistance to collaborative tools then originate?

Many workers feel that they already have email which performs well as a collaborative tool. Many of us realize that the overuse of email more often than not just clutters our in-boxes. Important email is often ignored or gets lost because there is just too much of it. As an alternative, collaborative tools like topical Wikis and video collaboration tools permit important information to be more effectively shared and stored among groups of individuals working on a project.

By eliminating anonymity when using collaborative tools such as Wikis, we ensure that all participants are fully responsible for the information they share with the group at large. When people have to sign their name to something they tend to be more accurate and truthful. If the shared information is inaccurate, then the chances of someone finding, notifying, and updating the information is much greater in a collaborative environment. It is easier to spot inaccuracies in a public forum then it is in a private conversation.

The security of corporate data assets is always of great concerns to CIOs. It can be argued that by establishing specific places to share information in a collaborative environment is far more secure than hidden in individual tablets or smartphone devices that can easily be lost or stolen.

Perhaps the best argument of all the CIO can make in favor of adoption of collaboration tools is that they help workers find the information they need to make decisions and perform their jobs faster. Some estimates on worker productivity show that corporate executives spend as much as 10% of their time in search of information and general employees at times spend on average 25% of their time searching for information. Collaboration tools help workers find the right information faster.

Connecting colleagues across teams and geographies will lead to increasing productivity and foster employee engagement. This in turn will enable workers to share institutional knowledge - some of which has been acquired by over 20 or more years of working at the same organization. When collaborative tools are introduced, workers will innovate faster.



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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of CIOZone.com and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and About.com.


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