On July 22, 2011, I polled readers of the TechRepublic Google in the Enterprise Blog with this question:
The results of the poll make it pretty clear that the collaboration tools included in the Google Apps suite are not being used to their fullest potential. The poll results tend to support what I have been thinking - collaboration via cloud services makes for good marketing copy, but users have not yet embraced these tools as part of their regular work routines.
The concept of using collaborative documents is still a bit experimental from most users' point of view. I think users are going to need some time to figure out exactly when, where, and how they will incorporate and integrate collaboration tools into their normal work routines. Some will adopt and adapt more quickly and other users will probably never fully adapt. Some users, taken to the extreme, may never need to adopt collaboration tools because such tools may not be helpful in their department or organization.
How quickly will you take to enterprise and team collaboration tools? We are using Google Apps collaboration tools to a small extent here at TechRepublic, but it is not the first tool that pops to mind when a problem presents itself - at least not yet. We have to remind ourselves that the tools are there and that they can meet a particular need better than an exchange of emails or other less-collaborative solution.
What has been your experience in your organization? Are your users mostly ignoring such tools or are they clamoring for more and better collaborative tools?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.