Collaboration's Impact at New Year Divides the Experts

On the heels of a Basex report, which pointed to the role of unified communications and other aspects of collaboration in creating an information overload time suck in 2007, we are told now by eWeek that unified communications and collaboration itself are two of the top corporate time savers for 2008. So which is it? Or can it be both?

The eWeek article puts forth unified communications and collaboration, alongside a mobility-enabled IT strategy, server virtualization and e-learning as the Best Time-Saving Technologies of 2008.

The very same instant messaging and email that Basex cautioned will eat up hundreds of billions of dollars in lost productivity is lauded here as a godsend for companies trying to keep connected to customrs and colleagues in real-time. Eweek offers a case study of an insurance company that is using unified communciations to great advantage perhaps suggesting that they contribute less to Basex's $650 billion lost productivity figure than most other firms.

Collaboration merits inclusion because of the time savings achieved by virtual meetings, Web-based collaboration tools like Google Apps, and the infamous Wild Wild West of collaboration, the wiki. You'll remember that the wiki was also named by Basex as an extra layer of collaboration that is apt to take workers off task.

The (mixed) message seems to be: implement these new, time-saving technologies, but do so at your own peril, because unless you can get consensus on how best to work in each mode of collaboration, you could end up with an overstimulated, underachieving workforce.