The curious case of the missing Collaboration piece
Kolah Borate, manager in an IT company, is really excited about the changes that have been rolled out to revamp the company’s Intranet. Using a browser based single Sign on, Kolah, like all other employees of the company, is able to access a suite of diverse applications – HRMS, Payroll, Ticket Management (Help-desk), e-Learning, Knowledge Management, Pre-Sales Platform and Performance and Assessment Portal.
The new Intranet is great, but she, like others, has noticed that the jig saw puzzle isn’t complete. The collaboration piece, the biggest of them all, is completely missing. She likens the Intranet to a series of Towers, each big and tall, miles from each other, with no interaction between them, incompatibility issues and lacking the capability to enable users to collaborate around functional processes or transactions.
Whilst it is natural for these applications to focus on a specific domain and remain disconnected from each other for business/security reasons, the lack of collaborative capabilities is troubling and that too in an IT company.
Most companies have done a good job of building intranets filled with easily accessible applications. Chief Information Officers & Leaders have rightly envisioned Intranets as being critical to the success of the organization, growing and disseminating information across the company.
Users are using the Intranet like never before, but the usage is restricted to application specific transactions. Buzzwords like “Enterprise Collaboration”, “Stakeholder Involvement”, “Continuous Improvement” have remained in the realms of “Hype-Space”. Minimal progress has been made in improving operational agility and significantly enhancing business performance outcomes
Another One Bites the Dust
Most companies consider Knowledge Management (KM) to be at the center of their intranets. Unfortunately, a big casualty has been this very system. On its own, without any real or meaningful connections, information just trickles into it. A quick scan reveals that most of the information is out of date.
Time and again, employees like Kolah have bravely ventured into the KM application only to be rebuffed with incomplete or irrelevant information. Classic examples of this are certain HR and Admin forms for which the latest versions are only with the respective departments or within the applications that these departments use. “Keep Out” is the norm, not the exception.
The mysterious creation of Black Holes
She rues that the Ticket Management system, with its ever-growing information in the form of ticket updates and attachments, is like a black hole. Information once entered just disappears. The Ticket Management system isn’t the only black hole, there’s a whole cluster of them. To add to the missing collaboration piece, the KM system on life support, black holes, that are supposed to exist in the deepest recesses of space, are popping up all over the place.
Meetings and more meetings
Kolah does what most people do well and organizes a series of meetings to discuss this problem.
Numerous internal brainstorming sessions throw up a number of wild and interesting ideas, best described by the vivid imagery below.
All these ideas resonate with those echoing from the wide spectrum of the business and IT world.
So, is it all doom and gloom ?. Will the KM system come back from the dead ? Will the missing collaboration piece be discovered ? Can the Intranet be re-imagined?
We’ll collectively re-imagine all this and more in the days to come. Till then, a few links related to this exciting topic.