Enterprise 2.0 and Collaboration: Come on, HR!

April 8, 2010
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I recently read Jacob Morgan’s excellent post, Does Collaboration Impact Business Performance? Morgan reviews an updated Frost and Sullivan report that assesses impact of collaboration on overall business performance. (To read the entire report, click here.) In a nutshell, collaboration is catching on. Big time.

Reactions

The report has its limitations. As Morgan writes, “keep in mind that this (report) only speaks to tool deployment and says nothing about strategy, results, adoption, or effectiveness.”

Very true. Go back 15 years and think about the number of companies doing ERP, BI, or CRM. That didn’t mean that they were implementing and utilizing these technologies well. In fact, many of these projects were suboptimal, at best. Also, it’s interesting how The Great Recession has spurred adoption of some emerging technologies. Often, organizations and people only do things when essentially forced. This has always been the case.

Note the introduction (at least to me) of the term ROC: Return on Collaboration. This could be both very important and very amorphous, rife with unrealistic or undocumented discussions…

I recently read Jacob Morgan’s excellent post, Does Collaboration Impact Business Performance? Morgan reviews an updated Frost and Sullivan report that assesses impact of collaboration on overall business performance. (To read the entire report, click here.) In a nutshell, collaboration is catching on. Big time.

Reactions

The report has its limitations. As Morgan writes, “keep in mind that this (report) only speaks to tool deployment and says nothing about strategy, results, adoption, or effectiveness.”

Very true. Go back 15 years and think about the number of companies doing ERP, BI, or CRM. That didn’t mean that they were implementing and utilizing these technologies well. In fact, many of these projects were suboptimal, at best. Also, it’s interesting how The Great Recession has spurred adoption of some emerging technologies. Often, organizations and people only do things when essentially forced. This has always been the case.

Note the introduction (at least to me) of the term ROC: Return on Collaboration. This could be both very important and very amorphous, rife with unrealistic or undocumented discussions. It will be interesting to see if ROC catches on.

Perhaps the most shocking revelation from the report is the breakdown of collaborators by function. It is here that I’ll go off on a Dennis Miller-type rant. (He’s always been one of my favorite comedians.)

See Figure 5 from the report:

Simon Says

Now, one report certainly does not reflect every HR function at every organization at every industry. Without debating the methodology, data collection, and analysis of the Frost & Sullivan report, HR’s position relative to other functions appears to be appalling. HR should be at the forefront of collaborative technologies, not trailing the pack. To the extent that HR is still intimately involved in the hiring process for many key positions most organizations, how can HR successfully weed out “posers” if it barely uses such important tools? Look at the other functions in the graph. It’s extremely clear that R&D, Sales, etc. all value collaborative tools. HR just doesn’t get it.

Beyond that, I’d also argue that largely ignoring collaborative tools does a number of other inimical things:

  • Increases the chances that a new hire is unfamiliar with both specific collaboration tools and, more important, a related mindset.
  • Decreases the trust that line management has in HR as a function (as well as individual employees).
  • Reinforces HR’s traditional role as the Personnel department and not a truly important partner.

HR, it’s high time that you get on board the Enterprise 2.0 train.

To quote Mr. Miller, “Of course, that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong.”

Am I?

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