Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media

The Collaboration Spaces vs. Communication Channels Argument Continues

Craig Roth at Gartner moderates a debate between himself, Mike Gotta and Peter O’Kelly on how to categorize the way people work together. The traditional categories were “Collaboration” and “Communication.” Mike Gotta (now of Cisco) thinks the distinction may be too restrictive in the current enterprise 2.0 context. Peter O’Kelly upholds the usefulness of distinguishing between the categories, but describes how work flows between them – both synchronously and asynchronously.

The debate is a little difficult to follow when analysts set to this kind of discussion: they are arguing fine points that are sometimes hard to relate to real situations. The value of analysts like these is that, if you adopt their framework, they can provide significant focus and structure to a corporate initiative. But lacking the depth of the underlying frameworks, this discussion is difficult to benefit from.

I *think* I agree with Mike Gotta, at least I do when he says that the distinction is too limiting. Communication seems to be a superset – the environment in which collaboration and social happens. I can’t imagine collaboration without communication. Nor can I imagine social environments without communication. And it seems to me that “Community” is simply a way to limit or focus one’s communication to specific group of people.

In any event, the key is to have the tools and technical environments adapt to how users think and work and have their being, not the other way around. In the process of reviewing over 20 social enterprise platforms, my impression is that tools are moving slowly in this direction, though there is room for plenty of improvement.

Craig Roth: The Collaboration Spaces vs. Communication Channels Argument Continues.

Peter O’Kelly: Cisco Community Central: Enterprise Social Software : Pushing The Reset Button On How We Look At “Collaboration”

Mike Gotta: Collaboration: The Long Journey


Written by tstaley

October 23, 2010 at 6:55 am

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