Monthly Archives: January 2010


At this point in the survey, we branched out into four streams – looking separately at the processes of Identifying, Selecting, Implementing and Operating collaboration software.  In each of these, we asked the question: “What was your satisfaction with the process?”

Given the spread of stages of this evolution that our respondents were engaged in, our backroom statisticians started to swoon at this point of the analysis!  However, even with low numbers in each stage (N=7, 6, 8 and 9 respectively), some patterns did emerge:


It appears that those engaged in the initial stage of identification – with the exception of two extreme outliers – were fairly ambivalent.  Experience was much more evenly spread in the selection stage, but it could be said that in general, the experience during implementation and operation was generally more positive.  However, while there is no complete dissatisfaction after identification, there is also no complete satisfaction after selection.  We will look further into some of the specific experiences in following posts. 

Some general observations of important things to think about at each stage can be summarised as follows:

  • Identification – Be clear on what your needs are first.
  • Selection – Be clear on what your needs are first.
  • Implementation – Make sure everyone is clear on what they are supposed to be doing with it now that you’ve got it.
  • Operation – Realise the importance of getting all of the three key things above right the first time.

If your organisation has already obtained one or more collaboration software products, what are they?

The previous post highlighted the diversity of products that are viewed as “collaborative software” by respondents. Today’s post looks at what has been selected (N=26). 53% of respondents had only selected 1 collaboration tool.

Sharepoint is again powerful but not dominant. 10 (38%) respondents had obtained Sharepoint . 7 out of the 14 responses who have obtained only 1 tool had obtained Sharepoint.

If your organisation has already considered one or more collaboration software products, what are they?

We had 27 responses to this question that mentioned 50 products (depending on how you define product).

These were :iCtye, Google Docs, Blackboard Wiki, Microsoft (Sharepoint, Outlook, Exchange), Ektron, Allette Systems (Pageseeder), EMC Documentum (eRooms), Kavi, Alfresco, Jive SBS, Telligent, OpenText Social Media, Lotus (Notes, Quickr, Connections), MindTouch, Atlassian (Confluence, JIRA), Salesforce, MediaWiki, Drupal, Edna, Blackboard, Sakai, BSCW, Matrix, Teamcenter, Windchill, Webex, IM, Sitescape (Novell), SAP, Socialtext, Traction, Novell Teaming, Govdex, Twiki, Intralogics, Drop Box, Skype, K2 BlackPearl, Joomla, Twitter, Yammer, DotNetNuke, WordPress, OpenCMS.

The number of products reviewed by each respondent is broken down below. Sharepoint was the most common product reviewed, appearing in 60% of responses.

Key takeaways:

  • This is a diverse market. There is no single market dominator but Microsoft making a serious play for Sharepoint to occupy this role.
  • This is a diverse market (again). Many of the companies on this list would not see themselves as competitors.
  • Is this even a single market at all?
  • Most respondents (74%) reviewed three products or less.

How would you rate the following functions in terms of their importance in collaboration software?

So what do organisations want in terms of functionality? (N=39)

Key takeaway – “Lets start with the basics”. Six functions were rated “critical” by respondents:

  1. Search. People want to be able to find stuff. Search should be simple but in most organisations it is hopelessly dysfunctional.
  2. Shared document access & storage. People want a place to put things.
  3. Collaborative text content creation & editing. This is the first “Enterprise 2.0” -style piece of functionality in the top 6. And it’s really easy to do!
  4. Forums & discussion. People don’t just like documents, they like being able to discuss issues with other people. A very simple & mature technology.
  5. Single sign-on. Make the user experience as seamless and as easy as possible, please.
  6. Calendaring & scheduling. This is an important aspect of collaboration that is often under-rated. Make diaries easy to use, access & even share.

There is very little “cutting edge” about this list and most of the technologies needed are now mature & well-understood – but how do the collaboration products you use measure up on these functional areas? Are vendors providing what people want?

Identify and rank the top 5 of the main factors behind your organisation’s interest in collaborative software.

Moving on from “who” to “why”, we asked respondents to list the top 5 factors behind their organisation’s interest in collaborative software. We then weighted the answers and here is the summary.

The top answer is predictable. It does provoke a question that we didn’t ask: Do you measure or in some way track the productivity of your teams? Many organisations only do this loosely. They have some rough idea of team outputs but they don’t have a good model of the reasons for team productivity. If team productivity is your main goal and you don’t have some way of assessing it then how do you know if your collaboration software is worth the effort or not?

The second answer was less expected (and hence more interesting). Effective decision-making requires a whole raft of resources and yet this need is not demonstrated as a priority by vendors. Some do offer “business intelligence” dashboard capabilities but this is often only one input into the decision-making process. There seems to be a big potential opportunity here.

One surprise in the current economy was the low placing of cost reduction factors.

Who drives your organisation’s collaboration strategy?

In the last post, we look at whether organizations have a collaboration strategy – we some decidedly mixed results. Today, the question is: Who drives your organisation’s collaboration strategy?

These are the results that we got (N=37):

The numbers don’t necessarily add up with those in the previous question (which has got our backroom statisticians all of a flutter) but if we take them at face value then the answer is “it depends” and “almost everyone”. IT is the biggest group. This we expected – what came as something of surprise was the narrowness of IT’s lead.

What have your experiences been in who’s involved – and who’s not – in collaboration strategy development? Should we see more leadership from senior executives or core business units in this area?

Does your organisation have a collaboration strategy?

Over the next month, Keith & Matt will be posting the interim results of the OzCollab survey.

So the first question we are going to look at is: “Does your organisation have a collaboration strategy?” (N=39)

For most respondents, the answer seems to be “we kinda do”, followed by “no”. For me, this reply indicates the immaturity of thinking about collaboration technology within organizations. It just happens. It’s not formalized. This might be workable when you have a small number of options (e.g. email) but the collaboration software landscape gets more diverse, it helps to explicitly work through what you need and why.

So there is an opportunity here for practitioners, vendors & consultants to make some of this stuff clearer for businesses.

What do you think?

I would also accept that the question is worded quite loosely and it would be interesting to find out what “informal” means.

Tomorrow: Who owns the strategy?