Web Techniques Column Describes What Users Need to Collaborate with Others
Every once in a while, someone states the obvious in such a way as to make it seem like revelation. This is certainly the case with Amit Arsavala's column in the current issue of WebTechniques. When we read his column and its long list of prescriptions to fully enable collaboration, we are reminded of the fact that some of our most successful client projects succeeded in spite of the management in charge during the period-- not because of actions they took to facilitate or ensure project success.
The idea put forth about allowing all users to pick their own software, extending even to the groupware solution that an individual user chooses, is radical. A heterogeneous groupware environment would force corporations to think about the design of work flow and knowledge management applications a great deal more than they currently do. This would also be the death knell of applications based on Lotus Notes that cannot be rapidly Web enabled.
This column will go over like a lead balloon in many companies because management is often on the trailing edge of use of IT services like Virtual Private Networks, although managers often obtain the latest wireless gadgets to impress their friends. The tendency to support gee-wiz technologies at the expense of projects that have a good chance to fundimentally change the way work is done may ultimately result in unjustified cutbacks in Intranet spending.
The greatest blessing that can happen to many companies is that their managements become preoccupied with external events like corporate mergers so that more junior people can have the freedom to think radically about workgroup productivity. This is clearly one reason that one of our largest client projects has succeeded, and explains why some organizations produce great Web Sites in spite of internal turmoil.