Feeds

Loutish users scupper collaborative technology

Socially inept choose the wrong comms tools - report

The Power of One Infographic

Collaborative technologies are failing because too many users are socially inept and have poor manners, according to a report from the Leading Edge Forum, a consortium of CIOs and academics.

The problem comes because users don't know which tools to use for which purposes, and don't consider the other people involved, so if employers want to get value from the technologies they buy, they need to provide guidance and social training, said Doug Neal, the report's author and an LEF research fellow.

Many email and IM users will know from painful experience how easy it is to offend others by mistake, when all you have to work with is text, but Neal said similar problems can arise with other collaborative tools too – for example, when someone assumes that, because your diary shows uncommitted time you have nothing better to do than attend their meeting.

"This issue will get worse as new versions of MS Office and Sharepoint are rolled out with dramatically greater capabilities," he said. He added that part of the problem is that users choose collaborative tools instinctively, rather than consciously.

The forum, which is sponsored by IT services company CSC, has put together an interactive slide-show summarising its recommendations. It suggests questions people should ask themselves when deciding which tool to use, and offers advice for different types of collaboration, for example:

  • Calendaring – Don't use a broadcast meeting invitation to gauge interest in a topic.
  • Email – If you expect discussion on an issue, don't send it by email.
  • Messaging – Always assume that whatever you say by IM will be seen by others.
  • Shared filing space – Establish the owner of any reference document and a process for keeping it up to date.
  • Discussions – Aim to close as many discussions as you open.
  • Audio/web conferencing – Direct your questions to nominated participants.
  • Video conferencing – To appear natural, you must practice unnatural acts.

No, the latter is not a reference to the goat and the Shih-Tzu that the MD keeps in the videoconferencing room, it's things such as looking at the camera, not the screen, and exaggerating your expressions to give greater feedback. Gurning lessons all round, then. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.