Monday, October 30, 2006

Report on the ICC 2006 in Paris

Leave it to the french to analyze in depth the work and social challenges of electronic collaboration and the measurable efficiency gain one should expect as an outcome. How refreshing to have a non-technology centric approach to the challenge!

More than 1200 people attended the event organized by Mr. Richard Collin president of the International Center for Collective Efficiency (ICCE). The event’s highlights were the open sessions on new collaborative trends, a solution vendor exposition, and the “master classes” where fundamental productivity and management acceptance questions were raised and answered.

Additionally, Microsoft sponsored a theme book on “working differently through collective efficiency” in French “Petit Precis d’efficacite collective TOME #1 - Travailler Autrement”. This book was given free to everyone at the event. It contains survey results, large content visualization models and many positions by well-known french industry leaders and innovators. This book demonstrate again the ability for the french to dissect social concepts and illustrate them. Nonetheless, having been involved since 1988 in the Team Collaboration Application and Solution industry, I have to say that the themes and adoption challenges remain the same throughout the years.

The technology does evolve and we often think that it can make it easier to adopt and leverage it in a meaningful and measurable way; wrong... it remains a human issue! This event truly outlined this reality as speakers talked about the WEB 2.0, Wikis, social networks and management resistance to adopt these technologies already familiar to our children and homes. Although the names are different, the value proposition is too familiar to business managers who have already seen these technologies and used them since the early 90s with products such as Lotus Notes/Domino, MS Sharepoint, EMC’s eRoom & Documentum and other well established collaborative platforms. Perhaps a new name to the same problem might work this time?

In summary, the event presented many philosophical and academic points of vue. Case studies and measurable illustrations were sparse and much needed to answer the “fear of change” questions. Nonetheless, the exhibition hall contained technology jewels (in french) that demonstrated once again the ingenuity and engineering innovation that only a higher understanding of the issues can deliver. Companies such as Affinitiz have build superior and accessible solution that are perhaps as much as a year ahead of what we have in the US with 10% of the budget we typically sink into WEB 2.0 innovations.