Adoption of Collaborative Technologies

Those with a good memory will remember from my posts that I was lucky enough to attend the Collaborative Technologies Convergence back in June.  In posted here that in a room of about 80 people 75% had implemented a new collaborative solution in the previous 12 months and 0% had got over 80% adoption.  That number still bothers me.  It is a problem I feel is there but have little proof or evidence to support.  During some googling I did come across this interesting paper from CREW and would like to share some of their conclusions:

“The foremost conclusion of this study is that
collaborative tools must meet a specific need to merit the
effort of deployment, adoption, and subsequent use.”

“the new tools seemingly imposed too
great a burden to learn and master, relative to the
perceived benefits.”

“The level of support varies with the complexity and novelty of the proposed tool.”

In that last comment support is referencing the adoption, or support for the technology.  It was an interesting point which stated that if a user was familiar with a process they would adopt it in its technological form quite easily but if they weren’t used to it they wouldn’t.  Perhaps that is why most video phones on contracts with free video call minutes are not used at the moment.

An interesting note to leave on from the research is the fact that if you try and by too novel when implementing a technology for a project then adoption may not be high.  I’ll infer that in fact you could damage critical projects without understanding the up front effort to train team members how to use the latest and greatest technology.  An interesting thought for us all to leave on…

“adoption of novel tools with accompanying
novel practices is not something that unfolds on a time
scale consistent with most projects.”

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2 Comments

  1. Saw this post on the BBC site today.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/5406498.stm

    This paragraph in my mind suppport your comments.

    “In the relentless quest for the next big thing when it comes to new forms of digital consumption, there is a significant tendency for the industry to over-estimate consumer’s knowledge and understanding of the seemingly limitless new terms and products out there,” said Alex Burmaster, internet analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings.

    I think this over-estimation is also found in the implementation of novel/new technologies. Are those of us who are technology evangelists, out of step with the ordinary person executing they day to day business activities?

    However, if we can have a business case for new methods or technologies within business processes; and we can obviously measure the success or lack of in utilising the new techniques. Can’t we then analyse and find out what’s missing in helping people adopt these new tools/techniques? Is it training? Ease of use? Lack of business modelling appropriate to the new tools? What were the ideas/reasons given at the CTC?

    Cheers
    Charlie

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  2. Well the main focus from my perspective and follow on from conversations at CTC is there is a huge ammount of effort involved in managing the personal and organisational change when new techniques and technologies are implemented. The user is the key, then the team, then the organisation and whether to flow from bottom up or top down is always the challenge. We do a great job as IT professionals of getting “cool” technology out there but less emphasis is placed, especially in the enterprise, on how the tool or technique will impact the people.

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