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December 23, 2009

The Collaboration Conundrum

Just as I was writing this I got today's daily email newsletter from Emarketer.com with the subject line of Users Still Sharing by Email. How fitting....

By now we all know how important it is to find ways to reach more people, more efficiently - and in more meaningful ways.  We look to use content to pull us into opportunities to engage customers and prospects. And in many cases we work with multiple people to create that content - whether it is a whitepaper, webcast, video, a sales presentation or even a business proposal.

So with all the tools available to us today to share information and communicate instantly with large groups of people, it appears - as the Emarketer subject line says - users still rely heavily on email (and also the phone) to share and collaborate.  This is backed up by a recent Forrester research study commissioned by Adobe on the future of collaboration.

Collaboration tools_Forrester

As you see from the illustration above, one of the key findings from the study of 700 US based knowledge workers was that traditional business communication methods still dominate the collaboration toolkit.  I know what you're thinking... where's the social stuff?  According to the study, conferencing technology - like video conferencing, group sites and instant messaging - is starting to make inroads but are still far behind the leaders.  Enterprise 2.0 tools  - wiks, blogs and social networks - are a mere blip on the collaboration screen right now for the average knowlede worker surveyed.  And confidence in them becoming major tools for traditional knowledge workers to use is not there right now based on sentiment from those surveyed.

Benefits of collaboration_Forrester
But social tools can provide many of the benefits knowledge workers are seeking with respect to improving their collaborative efforts.  So what will it take for mainstream knowledge workers to fully embrace blogs, wikis, social networks and other new tools being created to allow for more efficient, rich collaborative experiences?

Lori DeFurio - Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe - recently joined me for a conversation to take a deeper look into the survey findings.  Lori shares some interesting numbers that caught her attention, gives some insights into why social tools have not made significant inroads into the collaborative toolkit of today's knowledge workers, and shares her thoughts on what it will take for higher adoption of these tools to occur.  Lori also touches on how Adobe Acrobat and the Acrobat.com site can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of collaboration. 

To hear the conversation click the player below, or download the mp3 file by clicking here.  And if you're interested in getting more information on the study just use this link.  You may also want to check out Lori's show on Adobe TV if you want to learn how to get the most out of using Acrobat. 

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