Making “Collaborate” a Verb Again


Microsoft’s May’s unveiling of SharePoint 2010 reveals the company’s rather dated view of business collaboration. When did collaboration become only about things — like documents and files — instead of actions — like updates and activities? SharePoint 2010 views collaboration as a conversation among people — but about static objects. Compare that to Salesforce Chatter’s focus on what’s actually happening right now in your business.

With Chatter, colleagues not only follow each other, but also follow applications or application objects like sales opportunities or support cases. With Chatter, conversations will start sooner, focus more quickly and help you get more done in less time.

The meteoric rise in the popularity and adoption of social networking led us here. It may be inevitable that business collaboration starts to look and feel more like social networks like Facebook rather than corporate applications like Lotus Notes or SharePoint.

The difference is illustrated in comments of Chatter beta customers: “The objects that we build…can chat and be a part of our Chatter screen, whereas in SharePoint [they] cannot,” wrote one customer. “I am watching people who, without any training, are using Chatter to chat about how they can make more money for the company and being proud of how they closed deals. And through this channel I can measure exactly how much productivity [increase] is occurring. No one in the market comes anywhere close to this type of offering,” wrote another.

It’s all evidence that collaboration at work is undergoing huge change.

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