He just co-authored an excellent book for anyone who now considers how to unleash the power of collaboration within their organization and on a secure basis. His book is Dynamic Collaboration: How to Share Information, Solve Problems, and Increase Productivity without Compromising Security.
He joined the show recently to talk about his book, his company's solutions and the changing dynamics and expectations in the collaboration conversation.
You can listen to our conversation here.
You can read Part One of our conversation here.
You can read Part Two of our conversation here.
You talk a lot in your book about Cloud Computing. Big topic, it’s a hot topic. Great opportunity there for startups who lack the resources for an enterprise solution. Great opportunity for lost data. Where's the balance? What are some steps you recommend in your book for a company to consider to best balance those risks?
Yeah, the cloud is big today, a big buzzword of the day. Big technology out there. So, a lot of large companies are as well. We deal with a lot of large companies and large organizations. Smaller ones and larger ones are really looking to go to the cloud.
What we really talk about for those customers who want to go to the cloud and there’s people offering all sorts of services in the cloud today. Just like in your internal architectures, you need to make sure that you control the data and the data stays internal to your organization.
So, if you’re outsourcing that make sure you know where the data’s being stored. Some companies have, maybe if you’re in the medical field you will have government regulations that say it must be stored in the U.S.; it’s not allowed to go overseas - so you need to make sure you know where that data center is being stored.
I would make the assumption but you need to check that that data is redundant in case of failure of some sort. But you need to know where your data is going.
In addition, a lot of these data centers they’re standing up a separate collaborative tool. That’s what we talked about and said that’s not really the best way to do it. We kinda encourage people that if you want to go to the cloud, ask them how their collaboration tool fits into the other services that they’re provding you. So, if you’re getting your HR system from a cloud, or your getting your accounting system from a cloud, are they also offering you collaboration in both of those so that my HR department and accounting departments can talk to each other. If not, you’re kinda going down that previous path of:
“I’m standing up a separate collaborative system and all my departments are going to have to go that system to collaborate.”
Cloud has some great advantages but you want to make sure what you’re purchasing in there is fitting the needs of your organization.
Let's talk about the cart and the horse, social media and enterprise collaboration. Which one is the cart, which one is the horse?
I wish I knew.
Depends on the day.
You know, social media is all the buzz today. Maybe, it’s not the horse but, maybe, it’s the carrot you’re leading the horse with.
Social media is just the buzz. Everybody’s looking at how do they take Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn, and how do I get all these things internally and have my employees all working together just like they do at home.
So, that’s probably, that’s the carrot out in front of the horse and the horse is pulling another thing. That’s definitely the buzz out there today. Organizations are figuring out how do they do that. But if they bring in a social networking tool that let’s them see who all is online and be friends with them and I still want to be able to do my web conferencing and share my documents because we’re really not sharing our kids’ soccer photos with each other; we’re trying to do work here.
So, what we look at in that case is social media running the buzz, the hype. But when we talk to people we tell them:
“You need to make sure that capability is connected with your other collaboration capability.”
Again, all this should be embedded with the tools you a re currently using. So, it would be great to come into work one day and tell me:
“You might want to be friends with Suzie, who’s in the Chicago office because you have these things in common. “
And, maybe that’s a good thing.
Social networking is driving it. Maybe, it’s the horse in your analogy.
We have reached the imagination moment in our show. Let's imagine for a moment that on line 2 is President Obama. He's leaving you a message from his Blackberry that works this week. He says:
Ray. After reading your book and listening to you, I think you might have some solutions we need to hear. The country seems to have a problem right now collaborating, dynamically or sluggishly. And we see the results in our economy and our education...Can you come to the White House, bring your co-author Rick Havrilla. I'd like to you to talk about 3 ways we can create some dynamic collaboration, share information, solve problems, and increase productivity...on a nation-wide basis.
What would you tell him?
I thought we were focusing on jobs...
No, I would say, first off within the government agencies, we talked at the beginning about what is collaboration and what is secure collaboration. I think a lot of government agencies in the past have been tasked with ‘standing up collaborative environments.’ I would say they have checked that box and said:
“Yes. We have stood it up.”
How many people are using those systems? I would argue that it’s a very small percentage of the workforce.
So, I think the first thing I would say is the government agencies should be asking is:
“ What percentage of my people are online?”
And if it’s not 100%, you have a problem. Because you should be able to look at what tools your people are using today. If you integrate collaboration into those tools then by definition you are going to have 100% of your people online and able to work with others.
That would be step number one: Stand up these internal collaborative tools and make the government more efficient.
From the external piece, we had talked about customers being able to get in, so, you know maybe instead of calling the IRS you can set up a chat room with them and share documents. My tax return vs what they have and work through our issues. That might be more complicated. So, that would be Phase Two of how to do that.
On the other hand, I see if you look at it even broader, the White House and others are having talks and things like that on Twitter and LinkedIn and things like that. I think they are adopting some of these social media tools to share information with users, the US population. So, from that point I think they are doing something. But I think they could do a lot more internally for efficiencies and probably offer a lot more online capabilities for constituents and interact with their elected officers.
Leaders are readers. Jim Rohn says that, I merely quote him. You're a leader. What are you reading in all your free time.
I didn’t know I had free time.
I just finished Power of An Internal Franchise which Marty O’Neill had written.
I’m in the middle of one of Zig Ziglar’s books. I think it’s the Secrets of Closing the Sale. I think it’s probably the 3rd time I’m reading it. I just always pick up something different whenever I read it.
I’ve been busy with the book and work recently. I haven’t had as much time to read as I’d like.
Yeah. Yeah, I enjoyed it. There’s a couple of things in it I need to implement here.
At the end of your chapter on The Future of Collaboration, you write:
...there will soon be a time when instead of a query result returning a list of over 1000 documents for you to read, it will instead return the names of 5 people whom you should talk with to be answers. In addition, the system would report that two of the five are online now and provide links to collaborate with them.
Love that. That's what collaboration is all about. Or I should say that's who collaboration is all about, isn't it? People.
Yes! And again, it’s where I go back to a lot of people in the past have seen to stand up, I take the consumer model, and they stand up a Facebook and get millions of users and to stand it up and they will come mentality. For every successful system out there I think that there are hundreds or thousands of systems that have failed.
Our approach in the corporate world is bring the collaboration capabilities, the tools the users have on their desktop, are currently using on a daily basis.
Why make ‘em switch context to collaborate? People want to collaborate. We’ve collaborated for hundreds of years before this technology came along. Whether it’s the pone or traveling, whatever it took to get the job done, technology just makes it more efficient. But, it’s all about bringing the tools to the user to make their lives easier.
So, yes, it’s all about the users, the people.
Where can our listeners connect and collaborate with you in an online, unsecure setting?
I’m around quite a few places.Obviously they can get to us with email. They can go to Collabraspace website. We also have a website for the book. There are links there to follow us on Twitter and Facebook; we have a blog there. They can get in touch with me, Ray dot Schwemmer at Collabraspace dot com.
Ray, this has been a great show. I appreciate your time and your patience here with this show.
Thank you for having me on. You asked some very good questions, a few I’ve never heard before. It’s always nice to have to think about them before answering. I appreciate your time in having me on.