Building The Future Of Collaboration

There is an interesting report conducted by Forrester, and commissioned by Adobe, on the future of collaboration.  The study surveyed knowledge workers about their requirements, habits, tools, concerns, & desired improvements when working with others to achieve business goals.

The study focused on 5 key areas of collaboration in the workplace:

Knowledge Workers Need For Real-Time Collaboration 

Findings show that work with dispersed teams is on the rise, and quite simply "email" does not meet our needs as an effective tool for communication & collaboration.  Here are some interesting percentages from the study: 

  • Daily (35%) or weekly (34%) collaboration is common for the majority of respondents.
  • 73% of knowledge workers in large enterprises (5,000+ employees) collaborate with people in different time zones and regions at least monthly, and 24% of them do so on a daily basis.
  • Telephone is used by 87% and, when possible, face-to-face meetings for 77% are the primary means of collaboration.
  • Email and attachments used by 77% comprise the primary mode of collaborating across
    boundaries of time and location.
  • Speed & efficiency of collaboration (68%) and reduction of paperwork (68%), are the top benefits sought when looking for improved ways to collaborate with others

The Web 2.0 Gap Between Tool Availability And Adoption

As we have seen better tools for communication & collaboration, the adoption rates for these tools still remain low.  The ultimate tool for collaboration, has yet to emerge.  The survey shows the following percentages for using new technologies: 

  • Video Conferencing only used by 11%, IM used by 25%, & team sites used by 17%
  • Social Networks used by 7%, Blogs (5%), & Wiki's (4%)
  • Confidence in the ability to improve collaboration is much higher, reaching 42% for video conferencing
  • Confidence in using newer technologies is highest among younger workers

Challenges In Gathering Information Quickly, Accurately, & Efficiently

In the study they talk about how increasingly distributed collaboration & team work requires knowledge workers to gather information from others.  The challenge is 63% of workers say they collect they same multiple pieces of information, from a number of people about once a month or more. 

  • Email (73%) and telephone (59%), are the most common methods for data gathering, but present some clear challenges:
    • Email creates extra work
    • The telephone is time consuming, & does not document results
  • Knowledge workers would would like current tools to:
    • Be faster & more efficient (66%)
    • Reduce the need to re-type gathered information (55%)
    • Reduce paper (51%)
    • Be more engaging (47%)

The Increasing Need To Create Compelling Communications

The respondents feedback supports the requirement to have more compelling & effective ways of communicating: 

  • 45% of knowledge workers need to create high-impact, engaging communications, once a month or more.  While 76% of these communications involve combining multiple documents of different file types (text, images, photos, graphics, videos, forms, technical docs & more), to tell a story, make an impression, or making a convincing argument
  • Most of the communication created are customer focused (47%)

Securing Sensitive Information

With increased collaboration, companies are more often exposing confidential & sensitive information. The survey found that knowledge worker behavior & attitudes are not in tune with enterprise IT concerns: 

  • More then half surveyed indicate they create & share sensitive information or documents every two or three weeks
  • To secure shared information, knowledge workers use PDF's and passwords - US based workers are far more likely (58%) to use software controls to protect sensitive information, compared to Europeans (38%)

Access the full report on Building The Future Of Collaboration.  

Adobe is putting on a Webinar to discuss this report on the following dates:

Building the Future of Collaboration Webinar

Sessions 1 will be on Thursday, December 3, 2009 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. US Pacific Time

Sessions 2 will be on Thursday, December 10, 2009 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. US Pacific Time

You can sign-up for this upcoming webinar here.


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