Ease of use, a ‘non-sharing’ work culture and end-user buy-in are the main obstacles to the successful deployment of collaboration technologies, according to silicon.com’s panel of leading UK senior IT executives.

End-user education and training are often cited as the main barriers when it comes to collaboration so we asked our CIO Jury if they agreed with this statement. Almost all disagreed with nine saying ‘no’ and just three saying ‘yes’.

JP Rangaswami, global CIO at investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, said a more fundamental obstacle is the principle of sharing.

“Once people in organisations were convinced that ‘information is power’; they have built and refined whole philosophies based on a non-sharing concept,” he said. “Collaboration tools are of no use whatsoever unless people believe in collaboration. It is then and only then that they require the education and training to migrate from non-collaborative toolsets to collaborative ones.”

Peter Dew, CIO at BOC, and Mark Foulsham, head of IT at insurance firm esure, both cited ease of use as a key factor.

Foulsham said: “Collaboration technologies need to be intuitive to be successful. If this is the case then end-user resistance will reduce and in fact should lead to a ‘must have’ willingness to deploy the solution.”

Demonstrating and proving the benefits of these and any new technologies is also vital, according to Henry McNeill, CIO at Telstra Europe. “Once you get buy-in to the advantages, people will tend to commit and education becomes less of an issue.”

Ted Woodhouse, IT director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said end-user education is a problem because of the large amount of misunderstanding of terminology. Gavin Whatrup, IT director at advertising firm Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners, also agreed that education is the main obstacle but said it ties into end-user buy-in.

“Without universal end-user participation no collaborative system can fulfil its objectives. However, end-user education is framed by expectations and managed delivery. One cannot work without the other,” he said.

Today’s CIO Jury was…

Ian Auger, Head of IT and Communications, ITN
Peter Dew, CIO, BOC
Mark Foulsham, Head of IT, esure
Bill Gibbons, CIO, Abbey Group
David Jemitus, Head of IT, Government Planning Portal
Henry McNeill, CIO, Telstra Europe
Nick Masterson-Jones, IT Programmes Director, BACS
Rory O’ Boyle, Head of IT, The Football Association
JP Rangaswami, Global CIO, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein
Gavin Whatrup, IT Director, Delaney Lund Knox Warren & Partners
Ted Woodhouse, IT Director, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
David Yu, CTO, Betfair

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of silicon.com’s CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

silicon.com is running a special report on collaboration technologies. You can see all our articles here.