August 25, 2005

Missed Opportunities to Collaborate

In the flow of coverage of Google Talk in the last 48 hours, a real issue has been missed. The buzz around business blogging is masking it as well. In a way it's linked to the Digital Divide. Here's a hint - it doesn't relate to consumers.

There's been high adoption of the Internet by business. Corporate adoption may even be at the point of being more "universal" than adoption by the general public. However there is a segment of businesses with Internet connectivity that block Instant Messenger usage by their people. By the way, this isn't limited just to MSN, they block Yahoo and AIM as well.

I personally know of a dozen large employers that do this. Their logic is that access to Instant Messenger applications/sites equals a productivity drain by its employees. Perhaps these employers restrict phone access for the same reasons.

I need to catch myself as I write this. It's easy to slam these organizations since I've been involved with technology and the Internet for a long time. "Eating my own dogfood" has allowed me reaped the benefits of a robust Web Workstyle. So I'm puzzled why some companies handicap themselves when there are great business benefits to connected communications.

The concern is that these same companies will block their employees from some of the more collaborative aspects of the Web - that is to say Blogging. The way out is via education. Educating business decision makers on the value of empowering their people through collaboration and communications outside the bounds of their buildings.

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