Collaborative technologies are great and all, but right now we\u2019re not terribly satisfied with them at our business. That\u2019s the report from more than half of 400 CIOs and IT decision makers surveyed by Avanade, an IT consulting firm, about the use of collaborative technologies.\n\nExamples covered in the survey included e-mail, instant messaging, video conferencing and intranets. In most cases, respondents gripe about a lack of integration between the collaborative applications, which in turn frustrates end users, says Larry LeSueur, Avanade\u2019s vice president of technology infrastructure solutions.\n\n\u201cOnly 11 percent of them had some strategy around how to implement these technologies with their existing environments,\u201d he says. \u201cIt\u2019s not that e-mail isn\u2019t driving value or that IM isn\u2019t. It\u2019s that both those technologies aren\u2019t integrated.\u201d\n\nAs a result, he adds, end users deal with too many windows on any given workday. \u201cThe information worker really bears the brunt of these technologies not being integrated,\u201d LeSueur says.\n\nCIOs also struggled to identify the value of collaborative technologies with hard numbers, like ROI. \u201cIt is the hardest thing to quantify,\u201d LeSueur says. \u201cSometimes you can get a hard number, but that only tells a piece of the picture.\u201d\n\nIt\u2019s also tough to measure worker productivity gains as a result of these technologies being present. But while collaborative technologies don\u2019t always give the business (or more specifically, your CFO) the hard ROI typically demanded for IT investments, 95 percent of CIOs say they see an increase in worker productivity, LeSueur says. That alone should encourage further investments.\n\n\u201cRight now, it can be hard to justify,\u201d says LeSueur. \u201cBut in the end, they know these technologies are paradigm changing,\u201d he says.\n\nBest practices for adopting collaboration tools\n\nStart smart. Before you invest in collaboration, take a sober assessment of your other productivity applications (even e-mail). If complaints exist, you may want to tie up those loose ends first.\n\nEmphasize integration. Try to think of collaborative technologies as one big picture or even as one application. More and more, vendors design systems to be agnostic toward other software.\n\nPlay up soft benefits. Hard ROI will be tough. One simple way to quantify value can be speed: Perhaps a group can use an IM chat room to devise work plans in an hour instead of taking a day using e-mail threads.\n\nIn search of better collaboration technologies \n\nThe Avanade survey found that just 45% of U.S. companies say they are currently satisfied with the impact of collaborative and communication technologies. One contributing factor: Only 11% have a fully documented and implemented collaboration and communication strategy across the enterprise.\n\nPlanned Fixes: 71% of U.S. companies say they need to add new technologies to enhance their digital collaboration capabilities. For examplem, 79% will implement enterprise search tools, compared to 59% that say they have these implemented today. And 68% will implement virtual work spaces, compared to 48% that say they\u2019re using them today.