Frost and Sullivan (2006) published a research document that investigated and reported on collaboration within global Corporations. They stated that "a company’s culture and processes that encourage people to share work in a productive manner for specific tasks are central to effective collaboration".

When conducting their analysis, they contacted 900 decisions makers across the globe (US, Australia, Europe and Asia). Additionally they focused on two key areas for their analysis:

  • Collaboration Capability is a forward-looking construct that represents an organization’s orientation and infrastructure to collaborate – level of adoption.
  • Collaboration Quality, on the other hand, represents the nature and extent of collaboration within an organization – effectiveness of deployment and use – integration with business.

This study also states some interesting facts about what makes collaboration effective within a Corporation. They are as follows:

  • A culture of openness contributed (36%) to collaboration quality
  • A structure of decentralization (16%)
  • The use of collaborative technology in strategy implementation (16%)
  • Collaboration in strategic planning (6%)
  • Collaboration technology for strategic planning (5%)

They also found that "collaboration significantly impacts profitability (29%), profit growth (26%), and sales growth (27%)". This is due to efficiency and responsiveness gains and improved networking amongst teams – especially those that are distributed.

In essence, Collaboration is about people and is facilitated by a culture that supports and embeds collaboration in they way the do business. For those Corporations (CIOs)  looking for a "magic pill" or a tool that will "make it happen", it doesn’t exist!

The moral of the story is that without nurturing a culture, establishing behavior changing metrics and embedding collaboration within core business processes, you won’t get the results. Sure you will get marginal results just deploying tools but you would think that companies want something better than just marginal.