The CIO's view of cloud collaboration: choose candidates wisely

In a hyper-connected world in which organisations are increasingly focused on core competencies, some businesses seek external collaboration to create value that they cannot complete alone.

For others, external collaboration is a way to rejuvenate internal processes via an injection of new ideas from external actors, whose vision is not constrained in the same ways as internal personnel.

Both of these circumstances can be addressed by traditional or dynamic collaboration.

In traditional collaboration, a defined group of contributors works to achieve a particular goal, often via a single project.

Such projects may include hundreds of contributors, both internal and external, but project membership and goals are often tightly controlled.

In virtually all such cases, participants can't unilaterally self-select. Dynamic collaboration often encompasses a range of projects with a shifting cast of contributors over time.

Cloud might be the preferred means to rapidly enable technical support for any collaboration in which participants are widely dispersed, and do not otherwise share an infrastructure of tools and support for collaboration — traditional or dynamic.

CIOs considering using the public cloud as a collaboration platform need to answer some questions first:

- Are Our Needs Best Met by a Traditional Collaboration or a Dynamic Collaboration?
- What Are Our Goals?

Any collaboration, including cloud, starts with shared goals.

If goals are concise in scope and purpose, clearly structured, and considered achievable with a limited and largely known collection of contributors, use traditional collaboration.

If goals are broad, evolving, and only achievable with contributions from a potentially large and fluid group of contributors, use dynamic collaboration.

Do We Know Who Should Be Involved From the Start?
If ideal participants can easily be identified by name, or if the skills required are specific enough to narrow participants down to a finite group with very specific skills or capabilities, use traditional collaboration.

If ideal participants are unknown or can only be identified by a general description, then the collaboration is probably dynamic.

What Culture and Governance Are Appropriate?
All collaborations require governance.

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