Collaborating about Collaboration

So I was sitting at the client site minding my own business and doing some work. A guy I sit across from (whom I’ve never spoken to before – also from a professional services firm) had permanent employee come up to to him and say ‘I want to manage my emails, archiving things from the same topic, from the same people, all that kind of stuff’. So I wanted to open my mouth and say ‘uh – email isn’t version control’ but I bit my lip and decided to listen. Turns out that these two guys are working in Architecture, and are looking at ‘collaboration’ (this is seriously becoming a buzz word) and how their business can leverage a Information Management plan that was developed. Vignette, Sharepoint, Documentum, all these big shops were being thrown around. ‘Manage our files in spaces and start collaborating’.

I left them talking and when the permie left I decided to talk to him about what he thinks about collaboration (ironic how we’d never spoken to each other in the 4 weeks I’ve been there, but we start discussing collabration ;). I started asking him questions about Enterprise 2.0 technologies, a simple thing like a blog and RSS feeds. He had never heard of these things before. A few things that I had taken out from today’s meeting?
1. Architecture and Collaboration are really related! This is the second client I’d been to where collaboration was being managed by Architecture
2. How known is Enterprise 2.0? Is there a reason why professional services firms are consulting on areas where this technology is SUPPOSED to be in?
3. The cultural shift for employees and enterprise 2.0 is pretty big – people need to shift their mindset from reacting to email to being proactive in a ‘space’

Point 3 is an observation that I made from this client. Very old school IT shop – I’d only envisage business units to really embrace this technology if they had undergone an effective change management plan.

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