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Collaboration: A dirty word, still, for some

So what do you think about all this social software malarkey?

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Mini Poll Let's get personal here. Do you like collaborating with work colleagues? Do you like giving up your hard won knowledge for the greater good? Some people do. Some people don't.

The theory that underpins social software driven collaboration is that power accrues most to those who give away the most. They gain a reputation, they are sought after and, as a result, they become more secure.

Contrast this with the old way of doing things. Hoard knowledge and hide the inner workings of your expertise. Become indispensible and, therefore, unsackable.

But collaborative computer systems more or less force a change in culture if and when they are adopted. We've seen this happening over a long time - email and groupware are two of the predecessors. You could add several waves of 'knowledge management' as well. But, this time, it's different. Huge chunks of the population have already started participating in social networking outside of work. Instead of seeping from the organisation to the outside world, it's seeping the other way.

What we'd like to find out is 'to what extent?' If you'd like to take our quick poll below, we'll get the findings back to you in a few days.

READER POLL

How important are the following when considering the rationale for improved collaboration?

  Primary consideration Secondary consideration Not important
Operational efficiency (e.g. acceleration of work)
Retention of knowledge within the organisation
Stimulation of innovation and creativity
Logging of interactions for compliance
Minimisation of travel
Maintenance of morale/employee satisfaction
Other (please specify)

Does your organisation formally support use of any of the following? If so, how?
(NB, public service examples in brackets for illustrative purposes only)

  Supported via self hosted (on premise) solution Supported via third party hosted service Both Neither
Blogging
Wiki
Social sites (eg Facebook)
Profile sites (eg LinkedIn)
Virtual worlds (eg Second Life)
Photo/presentation sharing (eg Flickr)
Movie sharing (eg YouTube)
Micro-blogging (eg Twitter)
Instant messaging (eg Skype)
VoIP (Incl Skype)
Web video conferencing
Web screen sharing/whiteboarding
RSS aggregators (eg Newsgator)
Freeform tagging
Social bookmarking (eg del.icio.us)
Collaborative authoring (eg GoogleDocs)
Other (ie any we haven't mentioned? Please state)

How are you focussing your efforts, or likely to focus them, in terms of collaboration initiatives?

  Primary focus Secondary focus No focus
Management/staff collaboration
Team collaboration
Cross-team collaboration
Communities of practice
Collaboration with customers
Collaboration with suppliers
Other (please specify)

How well does the way in which collaboration takes place at the moment within your organisation support the following?

  Very well To some degree Not very well at all
Operational efficiency (e.g. acceleration of work)
Retention of knowledge within the organisation
Stimulation of innovation and creativity
Logging of interactions for compliance
Minimisation of travel
Maintenance of morale/employee satisfaction
Other (please specify)

BEFORE YOU GO

Which of the following best describes the organisation you work in?

Educational establishment
Public Sector (non education)
IT products or services vendor
Company with more than 5000 employees
Company with 250 to 4999 employees
Company with 50 to 249 employees
Company with 10 to 49 employees
Company with less than 10 employees
None of the above - please specify

Which of the following best describes your role?

Business management
Business professional
General IT management
Management of development/integration
Management of operations function
Systems architect or designer
Developer
Operations specialist
Other - please specify

Which of the following best sums up the attitude to IT in your organisation?

An important contributor of business value
A positive enabler of operational efficiency
A necessary but burdensome cost
A complete waste of money

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