IT needs to harness social technology with a clear purpose. Enterprise
collaboration tools are gaining traction in other areas of the business and the benefits of a more “social” business are becoming tangible. Social collaboration is destined to be the next great paradigm shift in internal corporate communication and co-working.
However, collaboration outside of their department is not traditionally one of IT’s strengths. IT people are natural problem solvers, but they’re inclined to tackle and solve problems on their own. As such, the challenge of making IT more open and collaborative is not an easy one; it requires a change in culture, not just a change in technology.
Many IT departments are still stuck in fire-fighting mode. Solving infrastructure and support issues takes up too much of the day. IT needs to bring people together to pool skills, share knowledge and solve problems faster – to make time for infrastructure improvement projects and business development.
Within IT, bringing collaboration into established processes helps to facilitate the flow of information and streamline processes for faster and more effective outcomes.
This sort of open collaboration centralizes information but also decentralizes control. Activity becomes a bit more fuzzy and organic, with unstructured collaboration happening outside of rigid processes, but everything is captured and reusable on a digital platform.
In many cases (especially in organizations with low IT maturity), there are few defined processes for the types of work that are being done. A social IT system can help IT people solve a much broader variety of problems, capture reusable processes on the fly, while capturing everything in a searchable knowledge base at the same time.
The high level objective is to open up what IT does – to make it more transparent and integrated with what the business does.
In most organizations there are few touch points between IT and the business: SLAs, a service catalog, and the service desk when things go wrong. In order to drive business-IT integration, IT needs to open up the number of touch points to enable more frequent and deeper interaction between business people and IT. By doing so, the walls between IT and the business will dissolve and true integration can develop.
IT people collaborate with IT people. IT people collaborate with end users. And end users collaborate with each other. The demand for technology and technical advice is rising. Business people want more direct interaction with the experts within IT to help them solve business problems. They want to reach into a pool of knowledge to discuss options and get what they need.
Collaborative systems are designed for loss of control. This flexibility enables the creation of new connections between IT and business people, as soon as a need arises, versus top-down management mandates that are slower to materialize.
Find out more in the full briefing paper: “Making IT Collaboration Work”