Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The Next Challenge for Collaboration Vendors
It dawned on me that many companies are busy deploying portals in order to overcome sharing barriers by giving everyone the same tool. But even if they crack that, they’ll still have the same problem outside their world of control. e.g. If a design company goes to a manufacturer saying “come and work with us in our collaboration space” that’s fine if it’s the only one. But if the manufacturer works with 5 or 6 design houses, then their world becomes far too fragmented.

What collaboration vendors need to work out is a way to share collaboration objects so that systems understand them e.g. threaded discussions, documents, calendar entries etc. The portal is then just one way to render them. It shouldn't be that hard - email has always de-coupled the email entity from the reader application, Usenet did it for threaded discussions, Vcards do it for addresses, RSS does it for news and blogs and The FT syndicates 'news articles' as an object into company portals. This is, I think, what Web Services is getting at, though with an e-commerce drive at the moment (anybody out there know enough about Web Services to confirm this?)

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