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5 Predictions for the Future of Collaboration – #5

Here is my fifth (and final) prediction regarding the future of collaboration.Prediction #1.Prediction #2.Prediction #3.Prediction #4.Prediction 5: Information Technology will evolve into Information FabricA recent report from Deloitte talks about “Cognitive Overload.” They estimate that the amount of worldwide information doubles every 18 months, and corporate files double every 3.5 years. More than 35 billion e-mails are sent each day! Combine that with IM, SMS, phone calls, meetings and we it becomes clear why we have an information overload.Various studies have demonstrated that too much unsorted information is worse than having not enough information. Add to that the stress of decision-making amid uncertainty and constant change. Never before in history have we faced the daunting task of making sense of such massive amounts of data.So the future is no longer just about the management and routing of information. It’s about providing people with the right information at the right time, connecting communities that can improve the relevance, and accelerating decisions to drive value for the business. Importantly, it’s about weaving that information fabric into business processes so they run more efficiently and connect with each other in ways that were simply not possible before. The meet all of these challenges, leading organizations will begin to merge their business architecture with their technology architecture — to the point where the two become indistinguishable. As a result, traditional roles will shift. For example, IT decisions will be made by business leaders while CIOs emerge as business leaders even more than before. There will be less emphasis on the underlying technology and more focus on building an information fabric that weaves together talent, technology and process.

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16 Comments.


  1. lets’ say a company was able to integrate their business structure with their technology architecture. Armed with this suite of knowledge. If a CEO is ready to meet with the CEO of another Co. wearing a similar suite of knowledge.Were would be the end game of this if both have the same information as the other? Good prediction by the way.

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  2. Information overload is a real problem. Without some type of organization or structure, large amounts of data can be worthless. I agree that the future of IT must include effective systems for organizing information that is accessible to the people/groups that need the information. I’m looking forward to using these new systems to manage my company’s own data.

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  3. It’s the realization of the integrated enterprise, where every business process has an underlying IT infrastructure that allows for seamless connection to the rest of the enterprise. I think collaboration can accomplish this if it is given the right importance by major enterprise leader. Manufacturing is indeed much further on this than the services industry

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  4. The steady collapse of memory/storage costs should continue for at least another decade, as new techniques enable tighter geometries. Metadata tags for richer media content, along with better algorithms for crawling and sifting through the trillions of data records (as noted by Harshal Bhave above) will enable more intuitive selection or analysis of the implications.A challenge still unmet is the poor interface between organizations, even those that have developed a trust relationship with each other. It is very difficult for learning to cross company boundaries (read between the lines of prediction #4). Most of the growth in communication has been happening outside the traditional orgn with our peer relationships, and with our personal tools, not the tools provided by the enterprise IT orgn. We need to become comfortable with the trust factors built into the networks and comm systems to overcome the risk threats and allow cross business engagements to be as free and as rich in discovery/awareness as the closed enterprise systems.

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  5. Some very insightful comments here on this prediction! To elaborate a bit, we define business architecture as the organizational structures you put in place to run your businesss and make key decisions — in Cisco’s case we rely heavily on councils and boards. Technology architecture refers to the IT systems and solutions you use to manage the flow of information.When we talk about merging business and technology architectures, we’re describing a scenario in which business leaders have access to the right information at the right time to make informed, timely decisions. Too many companies today face the challenge of having valuable information that winds up sitting in a remote server somewhere, frustratingly inaccessible to the decision-makers who need it. If we can successfully break down the barriers between business and technology architecture, we will enable collaborative teams to perform at a higher level by leveraging the power of information at their fingertips.R Rabano poses an interesting question: …Where would be the end game of this be if both [CEOs] have the same information as the other?”" My personal view is that even if the playing field is 100% even in terms of access to valuable information, the CEO or collaborative team that wins will be the one with the talent, creativity and acumen to act on that information in a differentiated way. After all, there were hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of sculptors in Renaissance Italy, all with access to the same fine Carrarra marble…but only Michelangelo had the inspired talent to create the David!”

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  6. As the IT Manager for a small company, my main goal for myself is to make the technology disappear for my users. Get the tech out of the way so they can get their work done.As you mention, managing the tons of data and making it available to our analysts is one of my main tasks, and it gets more complicated every year. I’m looking to move to a hosted solution to enable oundaryless”" access to and use of our data, but my company is very budget-conscious in this downturn. Meanwhile, I have nightmares about the AC unit in the server closet dying and walking in to roasted XServe with a side of backup drive.When management and IT are at a cost impasse, it’s difficult to make them see the value in moving to the cloud.Thanks for this series, it’s given me (and many others here) much to think about – and more importantly, to take back to work. :)”

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  7. There’s a third element to this problem, one that transcends the business and technology architecture: data’s political dimension. Or anthropological dimension, if you prefer.Data which is really valuable, whether it’s corporate data or personal consumer data, structured or unstructured, will always be surrounded by *some* kinds of walls because open access to the data for users beyond the data owner’s spheres of trust and influence would create enormous risk and/or corrode the data’s value. If Aristotle’s right that man is a political animal”", then the human network needs to recognize some key attributes of political humanity: 1. Effective collaboration requires privacy and confidentiality– secrecy, you might say– as much as if not more than openness. collaboration. Keyword-based search won’t help here.2. Ease of permissioning and partitioning, of social groups and of data, are core to the collaborative user experience. Tags won’t help here.3. As the US military and French enterprises have learned, productivity rises when managers force employees to shut off their devices and leave work at a normal hour (in US military intel, supervisors were famous for sweeping through the office ranks and shutting off computers when it was time to quit). 24/7 doesn’t help here. “”Always on”" = never really focused or engaged.4. Online collaboration technologies need to mimic the timeless pathways and habits of humans’ offline social networks. Facebook doesn’t really help here. FB is to real collaboration and networking as junk food-in-styrofoam is to real food. Networks of TRUST and RECIPROCITY, built over TIME, with slow and meaningful (preferably face-to-face) interactions, are the keys here. This is not a problem of data architecture or platforms. The IT challenge here is secondary to the user experience challenge, and the solution is to make online behavior more closely resemble traditional offline ways of vetting information for credibility and usefulness. No search engine will ever replace the powerful networks of extended families and ethnic or tribal groups. Google can find lists of doctors or articles on medicine. It cannot tell me which doctors are good, or what to do about my relative’s confidential medical condition, or how to find health insurance that won’t deny me benefits because of a pre-existing condition….”

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  8. The advances in technology, social networking & collaboration tools, brings about the information overload such as Mobile email/Video clips/IM/Blogging. The information would grow exponentially in the coming years.How do we manage the information overload?Ultimately the end customer would be determinant in driving companies to bring about newer products/solutions to solve the information overload manageability.Example of manageabilityThe network operators would leverage the dashboard and other management tools to proactively (or sometimes reactively) manage the information overload.The dashboard would provide service and revenue impact, e.g the mobile/internet is slow because of issues with Access Edge WLAN/Switches routers unable to handle the load. The service impact is unable to use video on mobile internet and revenue impact is losing the end-customer switching to another vendor. How do we handle the service & revenue impact? The network operators would be able to request/provision add more Gigabit line cards (bandwidth), increase pipe (OC3 to OC48). This would be done proactively or sometimes reactively (on-demand basis) and is based on service & revenue impact analysis [need tools!!].The end-users would report issues to Service Provider (Say AT&T, who in turn would request Application Service provider and others in the supply chain and eventually to Network Technology provider (Cisco).History repeats itself!In early 2000, the business driver was ARPU (average revenue per user) for wireless vendors/SPs. The business driver was a result of proliferation of end-users using mobile phones (only voice service). The end-user issue was dropped calls”". It would result in end-users switching from one wireless vendor to another.It resulted in collaboration of wireless SP/network/technology vendors to develop to Service/Revenue Assurance technlogy platform to solve the issue of “”dropped calls”" and other key performance indicators.It is deja-vu again in 2009 where the landscape has shifted from voice to voice/video/data with special emphasis on video and user experience.We need collobaration with multiple vendors (inter-company cloud!) to solve the problem.Tools for Information Overload ManageabilityThere would need to develop tools (at the minimum a executive dashboard for SP) to manage the information overload.”

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  9. How incredibly innovative. These predictions in themselves, seems to me, are an example of the power of collaboration and networks.What is more important than the management of the increasing information is the question of how do we continue to convert the information into useful and relevant knowledge and insight for the business. Knowledge and insight are key drivers of effective decision making. And quality of decision making is a key to business success.So, two CEO’s with the same information? Could be very different results, because which management team has the better decision making skills? Which management team has the most constructive team behaviours to be able to communicate effectively in the first place? While collaboration and information are vital, at the end of the day, it is about the people who will put it into effect for the organisation.

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  10. I find it ironic that a report on the future uses a type treatment from the past. Two spaces after a period died with typewriters. Consult, or reprimand, your editors.

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  11. Information overload around the technical and business architectures is a huge problem today. Not only is there data and information in excess, it is disparate within silos which are not integrated and do not communicate effectively. Additionally, much of what is needed of the critical architectural relationships is well documented in people’s heads.Typically today, in front of every initiative, every project plan, requirement from the business, funding request, standards decision, everything the architecture and planning community does, there is an archeological dig”" to gather the information, normalize it, collaborate around it, draw Visios about it, etc., so that the connections and relationships between the business architecture and the technical architectures can be visualized and rationalized. Certainly a primitive, manual, error prone process that screams for better collaboration.Strategic IT planning today is accomplished with spreadsheets and Visios. Critical data is in information silos, people are in organizational silos, current processes do a terrible job of bridging these silos.”

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  12. I think No structure are going to solve the issue of data overload. Smart routers and intelligent data identifiers would be created to crawl the information. Self learning Algorithms would fetch the data across emails, web, databases and present it. Definitely, it will be more than today’s pattern matching algorithms.

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  13. This is another interesting predictiopn. Today, there’s really a data overload that’s making decision-making a really though task.But if we merge business architecture with technology architecture and they become indistinguishable wouldn’t that lead to chaotic decision making instead of better ones? Here I’m a bit confused.

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  14. It’s amazing to me to see how information online and the way it is handled and promoted changes over time. Who would have thought that a product like Twitter would be seen as a useful tool. I know I didn’t get it at first. For those of us with websites and blogs, we need to keep up with information technology. Thanks for the stats!

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  15. See also FORRESTER’S latest study Building the Future of Collaboration”".FORRESTER interviewed 3700 US & EU workers about collaboration habits and needs. Surprising results.http://vator.tv/n/bb4

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  16. I agree with the last poster that it is very difficult to manage information if you are not proactive with it but it is important to do so. I would be nowhere if I didn’t keep up with the trends like Twitter.

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