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I was recently reading an article from MIT Sloan about the use of collaboration tools in the enterprise. The article made the point that collaboration tools are being introduced into the workplace, but not being effectively leveraged and people continuing to use email. I think there is a correlation here to some of the statistics for mobile and web applications.

So let me start with some facts, and some thoughts before I bring it back to the point about office collaboration.

We know from research from organisations such as PEW (general view of use, older generation view) that there is a correlation between age and use of mobile devices, and mobile apps. This I believe reflects on technology in general. As collaboration technology goes, it is a fairly young set of ideas. Although many will associate collaboration with social – there is a difference when social is more simply just sharing information. Collaboration is not just sharing but collectively working on assets such as documents.

Add to this a view of the demographics of any enterprise leadership (although IT is something of an exception) and you will see that leadership is an older generation (illustrated by this FT article). So, understandably less likely to lead an organisation into technology adoption.

Add to this the constant noise and increased pressure on information security, remembering that the most harmful security compromises originate internally. So with this sort of consideration you’re likely to see downward pressure to keep things tightly controlled. Such tight reigns seriously impact collaboration from my experience.

The last key thread, is the fastest way to encourage adoption of something is for the executive and senior leadership visibly adopt something. Organisational role comes with an inferred command (a well established piece of psychology) best illustrated by a story where a chief exec wanted to motivate staff, so spent time wondering around talking with his staff, and in doing so made observations and suggestions to people thinking he was helping. But as his role inferred a level of command, he sound discovered that those suggestions and ideas had been read as instructions and his staff where rapidly implementing such suggestions.

So here you have a recipe, where executives potentially don’t get the power of collaborative technology, potentially nervous of the security implications and least of all not using position to leverage it. You can see why the technologies aren’t being effectively exploited.

What is worse, is that you will see hotspots of collaboration which will be established by those who get the ideas and will inspire their colleagues. This is the true risk of collaboration as it is unlikely to controlled or properly secured with no contingency or remedial actions in the event of a security breach as those situations aren’t being dealt with by