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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Virtual collaboration tools & its ideal vision

Rob Cross argues that physical distance affects the effectiveness of networks. However, the problem of physical distance can be solved by the virtual collaboration tools.

I don't know much about and have much experience of such tools, so I don't know the quality of them. However, if their quality is same level as what we experienced in virtual class, I think they are good enough to use. Even if there is a distance between each attendant of meeting, since they can talk or see each other and share documents online, its almost same as facing each other.

But for effective virtual collaboration, both being able to talk or see each other and to share documents are necessary. I think only document sharing is not enough. Only using Google Docs without any tools to communicate can result in chaos because many users can modify a same part at the same time. They need the tools to communicate and tell something like "Hey, I will modify this part, so wait just a few minutes."

If companies have these tools and they have enough quality, what you need is to fully utilize them. Like Robert D. Hof mentioned, it takes time to get used to these tools. If only those who are familiar with technology can use these tools, virtual collaboration will decrease its value because the diversity of opinion will not exist in such situation. Therefore, they must be simple and easy.

3 comments:

George said...

"If only those who are familiar with technology can use these tools, virtual collaboration will decrease its value because the diversity of opinion will not exist in such situation."

What other obstacles do you see to the full implementation of these technologies? A few that I can think of right now (at this admittedly late hour) are technological illiteracy, actual illiteracy, fear of the unknown/change, etc. Your thoughts?

Jess said...

I know that for the project, some of the feedback for why people did not like googledocs is that there was no chat feature. Sites such as basecamp have addressed this issue with other tools.

Ryo said...

>George
Well, other than those obstacles, I think the quality of tools. I think it is still better to talk with physically facing each other.
Maybe the cost is another obstacle. I don't know how much those tools, but it is possible that a company can't afford them.

>Jess
Exactly. Communication tools are very important for virtual collaboration.