There are different types of collaboration, it is not just about technology and the way to drive greater levels of collaboration, but also increasing productivity. At Gartner we have a model that a few of my colleagues have developed, around how to encourage adoption and increase effective collaboration capabilities within an organization. This model is called ACME, which stands for Activity, Common Context, Motivation and Enabling Technology.
At a very high level, there are important things to understand. Firstly, there’s the importance of understanding the Activity and broad array of collaborative activities which range from: personal collaboration, ad hoc unstructured collaboration, process driven transactional collaboration, and full-blown crowd collaboration. In terms of If you take crowd sourcing for example, it’s important to understand the actual activity around collaboration.
Secondly, it’s important to have a Common Context, the C in ACME. There are two areas, one around the transactional parts of that context (the objectives, the plans, the goals that are to be achieved by this collaboration). This materialises in many ways including: applications, collaborations, structures, and document structures. The metadata captured is important to make visible and accessible to people that are collaborating in one of those activities. The other area is around the social aspects of that context, outlining the common sets of beliefs, values and rituals. This materialises in a way people communicate within a collaborative initiative.
Thirdly, Motivation, the M in ACME. It is important to understand and drive the motivations for people to collaborate effectively. Motivation is about having a management incentive to encourage collaborative work styles by breaking out of traditional silos and collaborate with colleagues in other parts of the business or beyond your required remit. This would include working with the HR department to provide training on technology adoption and how to use them effectively. In addition to this, to demonstrate the effectiveness to employees about the benefits of working in a collaborative way, this would involve using team-based metrics.
Lastly, it’s about Enabling Technology, the E in ACME. This section focuses on choosing the right technologies for the right activities. There are fundamental principles to selecting technology, it should enable and support mobility for seamless access across mobile devices. Cloud delivery is important for continuous innovation and deployment of new services into the services that they offer. This includes self-service which defines how users consume the collaborative services, how they utilise those services and how they set them up. The ability to effectively manage and include external participants in the collaboration activity is important for some of these activities, that expands and goes outside the organizational boundaries.