For all the promise of IT, one of the more troubling issues that continues to haunt the entire industry is that productivity per employee has been steadily declining for several years now. Given all the investments in IT, the prevailing assumption would be that productivity would be heading in the opposite direction.
One big reason productivity has been declining is arguably the simple fact that too much of the focus has been on personal productivity versus the way teams of people need to work. To address that issue, Atlassian has developed a series of cloud services designed to foster collaborations among both technical and business teams. Today, Atlassian extended those offerings by acquiring Trello, a provider of a cloud application designed to promote idea sharing amongst teams of individuals.
Trello joins existing collaboration tools in the Atlassian portfolio that include a Confluence application for sharing documents, HipChat conferencing software, and Jira project management and IT service desk software.
Atlassian president Jay Simons says there are already 19 million users of Trello, with half of them working in a business environment. The ultimate goal, says Simons, is to increase that base of Trello users to 100 million.
In terms of productivity, Simons says organizations need to provide users with tools that flexibly enable them to collaborate across teams of people who are not only geographically distributed; they might not even work for the same organization.
“It’s difficult to get everyone in the same room,” says Simons. “The nature of what a team is is changing.”
Naturally, Atlassian is not the only vendor trying to solve the riddle of modern collaboration in the enterprise. In fact, these days, there is no shortage of collaboration tools. The danger is that all those islands of collaboration tools may wind up creating fiefdoms of applications, defeating the purpose of investing in them in the first place when it turns out they don’t work well with any other application. The real challenge facing IT departments will be figuring out which of these collaboration tools to make a corporate standard before any of that happens.