Forget interoperability, ease-of-use and security concerns. Bad manners are holding back the widespread adoption of collaborative technologies.
An example cited in a recent article in The Register is assuming that, because a colleague's calendar shows blocks of uncommitted time, he or she is free to meet with you.
A big part of the problem, says research firm the Leading Edge Forum, is that users choose tools such as instant messaging instinctively, rather than consciously. An LEF analyst predicts the issue will only worsen with new versions of Microsoft Office and Sharepoint that feature enhanced collaboration capabilities.
Experts tout "presence," the ability to sense whether a warm body is currently connected to a client, as the next frontier for collaboration tools like IM. But this begs the question: Do we really want to be that connected, and thus theoretically available, all the time?
You can blame yourself and your poor time management skills. Or you can blame your inconsiderate colleagues. Most often, as fellow IT Business Edge blogger Ken-Hardin recently found, it's a bit of both.
Updating communications policies with some common-sense rules may help. An LEF PowerPoint presentation (linked to in The Register article) provides a starting point. Coming across a little like an edgy Emily Post, it offers a set of suggestions for several collaborative technologies: calendaring, e-mail, messaging, sharing file spaces and audio and video conferencing.
One of our favorites -- which The Register liked as well: To appear natural in a videoconferencing environment, you must practice "unnatural acts" (i.e., looking directly into a camera).