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August 20, 2010

South By Southwest 2011 – Time to Vote

by mikediliberto

It’s that time again: Time to vote for the panels that will be featured at South By Southwest 2011. 

This year, I have proposed a panel covering the topic of enterprise collaboration tools.  A complex topic, to be sure, but the focus of my panel discussion will center on the types of tools that can be deployed in the enterprise today, and in the course of our one hour panel, I will make the case that the best choice for enterprise collaboration tools is often the simplest.

Our Panel:  Can We Fix the Workplace in 140 Characters?

Keep it Simple

The emergence of social tools in the consumer space is setting expectations for workplace collaboration tools, and the proliferation of mobile devices has allowed employees to bring their own tools into office environments.  Employers are faced with tough decisions regarding what tools to deploy for their employees, and my panel makes the case that the best tools are the simplest in both structure and implementation.

Lessons from twitter

Simple tools are successful because rather than imposing structure, they allow structure to emerge through usage.  When we look out at what tools have been successful in enabling enterprise collaboration, we see that simplicity is the common denominator among all of them.  Twitter.  Email.  Excel.  What makes each of these tools powerful is their simplicity.

Don’t over think it

Lately, almost every major vendor has jumped into the enterprise collaboration space with a suite of offerings.  Many of the solutions that we have seen today suffer from complexity and feature creep that stifles adoption among employees. Employees are clamoring for solutions that are simple, not complicated.

Employee Empowerment

Today, employees are equipped with personal smartphones;  an always-on, un-controlled connection to the internet.  This connection allows employees to circumvent the tools that are given to them, and allows them to use their own.  When consulting with clients, I often tell them to look at what workarounds their employees are using, in order to know what tools they should be providing, as the emergence of free and low costs tools has enabled employees to roll their own solutions, with or without the blessing of your IT department.  The balance of power in the enterprise has shifted and the solutions given to employees need to reflect this new structure in order to be successful.

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