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lamia ben

Nice post, thank you.
I totally agree with you. Social collaboration is Not only about the technology. It's a cultural shift that should take place within the organization.
It surely reminds me of a piece by David Armano Do You Live Social (http://ow.ly/SvwH) where he states that managers should "stop and ask the bigger question: Do any of the people who make up your company, agencies, partners and so on actually live social?"

Mark Fidelman

Sorry I have to respectfully disagree on at least part of your analysis. In fact collaboration tools do foster collaboration. People have an innate need to connect and collaborate. When there's an easy way to collaborate people always will.

Was their a known need to connect with each other online on a deeper level prior to Facebook? Or did Facebook change people's behavior because a tool allowed them to connect and share with their friends and family?

Did people know they needed the internet and browser (which are tools) a priori? Or did those tools provide a solution to their needs once they started using them?

BUT - I do agree that most companies need organizational readiness and a political acceptance of the tools prior to using them. I believe most tools fail in the enterprise due to a lack of purpose, the wrong strategy or it's simply the wrong tool.

Julie Hunt

Hi Mark – thanks for taking time to read through my post. And I don’t think we’re that much in disagreement. In this post, I’m looking more at the value of emphasizing the human-ness of effective collaboration.

Many enterprises buy software tools before they have a strategic purpose in mind for many initiatives, and many of those initiatives fail if only tools-based. Collaboration especially requires true nurturing and empowering to be effective, since it is about humans working together to achieve work goals. Unfortunately there are many enterprises where collaboration between teams is not fostered or championed by upper management; in fact in many enterprises upper management creates environments where teams are somewhat pitted against each other, wrongly thinking the “competitive” atmosphere will improve performance. These are all corporate cultural issues that are counter-productive to achieving authentic, enterprise-wide collaboration. Software tools for something like collaboration don’t work for long if collaboration isn’t part of how an enterprise does business, internally / externally. Instead enterprises will end up with silos of partial collaboration processes.


Mark Fidelman

Julie, allow me to make the case. I can cite many examples where there was no executive buy-in for tools yet they fostered collaboration.

Exhibit A is email. Still the number one collaboration tool (internally and externally). I'd like someone to show me their email strategy because I haven't seen one since email first burst on the scene.

Exhibit B is the fax machine. Fax machines in fact increased collaboration (externally) because people found additional uses for them that were not originally anticipated.

I respectfully don't agree that collaboration requires nurturing to be effective. I believe people naturally want to collaborate but the tools are limiting them.

Which means most of today's Enterprise collaboration tools are not sufficient/easy/intuitive enough for people to collaborate in a natural/intuitive manner. In the future they will be.

OK, I've tried to make my case. Now tell me where I'm wrong :-)

Tim Intranet Consultant

Julie, great post. I agree. This is easier to sell in smaller companies. We find in larger companies the HR group is a bit scared of the outcome of everyone opening communicating. I can't see the bad but they do at some level. Maybe a control thing.

Julie Hunt

Hi Tim,
Thanks for spending some time in my blog - really appreciate the comment!
Successful collaboration cultures in large companies usually have to be championed by the executive level. HR may have a piece of the collaboration story, but true collaboration is cross-enterprise and requires many drivers.

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