Thursday, March 27, 2008

Does Strategic mean slow?

Nikos Drakos is presenting at the Gartner Portals and Collaboration Conference on "Wikis, Social Networks, Content Mashups and the Next Generation of Strategic Web-Oriented Collaboration Tools." Talk about loading up on keywords and buzz words!
Okay, what I am wondering is whether Strategic in this context equates to slow? We shall see...
User empowerment evolved from the 1980's with personal productivity. Then personal computers got connected so in the 90's we saw the growth of email and the emphasis on communications. In the new millennium we saw the emergence of collaborative web apps.
You can think of this evolution as:
  1. Automating the production of documents
  2. Speeding the movement of documents
  3. empowering the creation of original work
The communications evolution has also changed from "Send and Receive" to "Publish and subscribe".
When you think about what Nikos is describing you realize that the biggest change in recent years around what we call Web 2.0 is the automation of self-service and self-provisioning. Think about the ease with which we can create a blog site and publish content to it. How easy it is to create a username on Twitter or any IM platform. Automated provisioning has been the big win that has enabled two-way publishing and the emergence of social networks.
Architecture of Open Collaboration
The architecture of open collaboration has ten common elements:
  1. Uniquely addressable content
  2. Identifiable change in context
  3. Discussion in context
  4. Memory and reputation
  5. Shared categories
  6. Emergent structure built on those shared categories
  7. Attention-based relevancy
  8. Quality feedback for content and reputation
  9. Emergent, not forced, group formation
  10. Monitoring and instrumentation
When I think through these facets of collaboration I wonder why Sharepoint is so successful. After all Sharepoint seems to require document libraries and lists to be pre-defined before use. When you look at the web structure emerges based upon the content. I suppose this goes to one of the critical factors - Control. There was no one to let go on the Internet. In the enterprise it is different. Those in control, the decision makers, are frightened to empower their people and thereby lose control.
Four obstacles
  1. It is hard to stop thinking about documents.
  2. decentralized and web-oriented environments are at odds with bureaucratic and hierarchical organization structures.
  3. The Technology legacy may mean that browser-only access is insufficient.
  4. Risky product choices in a fast moving market - Will the vendor/product have longevity?

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