Too Easy to Collaborate?

by Volker Weber

We were meeting with the IT folks and things were going really well until we got to the use case and the types of things the highly strategic LOB in this biotech wanted to do. "You mean that one of my supply chain people could share our schedule data with a supplier?" he asked. "Sure, but they could do that with email, or the phone too. Heck, they could do a screen shot of their SAP GUI and fax the thing too couldn't they?" I offered.

"Are you telling me they could also have persisted discussion around it? Work together on 3D molecular modeling tools in your product?" the lead IT guy continued. "Uh, yes. That is the technology and human design goal. To make people effectively collaborative, by offering secure ad-hoc group creation, contextualization, and different-time/different-place capabilities," I replied.

The IT guy concluded that, "You guys are making it way too easy to share with others." And then he dropped the bomb: "Listen, our business users are stupid, we have to help protect them from themselves."

Many years ago, IBM's Lou Gerstner briefed a group of us on the things he worries about most. At the top of the list was the "10 guys in a garage in Cleveland." With the advent of the internet, they had equal access to the world markets, and they could innovate faster than he could. Why? Because there were no barriers between these people and their ideas or their value chains.

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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