Cisco has just completed a five part series on their blog on their vision of The Future of Collaboration. Here are their predictions:
1. Collaborative networks will be to Enterprises what social networks are to Consumers. The rigidly structured silos will give way to more fluid, ad-hoc communities of experts. Companies will rely on "collaboration networks" that bring together "clusters of experts" to get critical projects completed. The groups will form dynamically to achieve the shared outcome. The cycle is self-organizing. Experts are drawn to projects, rather than assigned, and thus are motivated.
2. It is not about "on-premise" versus "on-demand", it will be all about the user experience. Ultimately, user experience is what matters. Going forward the "where" in collaboration will become less important
Innovation will be redefined by Operational Excellence. Traditionally it was assumed that long term success was driven by either innovation or operational excellence. Today organizations need to do both and collaboration is a critical element that allows that to happen.
3. Organizations without boundaries will drive the next wave of productivity. Business processes must encompass people outside the organization as readily as they do people inside.
4. Information technology will evolve into information fabric. Too much unsorted information is worse than having no information at all. People need to have the right information at the right time, connecting communities that can improve the relevance, and accelerating decisions to drive value for the business.
5. Business architecture must be seamlessly merged with technology architecture.
Obviously in identifying these predictions Cisco has focused on technology. Do they apply beyond technology? Absolutely.
Unfortunately, old habits are hard to break. Look at any organization that has recently gone through a "restructuring." Did the restructuring build the foundation for collaboration networks or did it create new silos? What would an organization look like that would build that foundation.
Could such an organization incorporate employees and non-employees? Or, is the employee the concept that is outdated. Could businesses be redefined to be small centers of mission and principle ready to draw people in who might earn their living being the expert on multiple projects. Could organizations grow and shrink in moments to meet changing demands without creating devastation in the community?
Its an exciting world, isn't it?