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EU Research on eInclusion, the reference website from the EU-Commission

All you need to know about the first call on Challenge 7

Collaborative Working Environments or CWEs was a strategic objective of the FP6 workprogramme 2005-
2006. All the information can be found at EU@Work New Working Environments website. Further useful in-
formation is also available at the AMI@Work online Communities.

From Collaboration to Par- force those employees to structure this
informal knowledge through a collabo-
ticipation rative tool is a difficult challenge.
Collaborative Working Environments
or CWE is one of the two major topics For more than 25 years, asynchronous This problem doesn't exist with syn-
of the eSangathan project and this collaboration tools have been used by chronous collaborative tools, because
second newsletter aims at making a thousands of companies all over the they are based on a real-time communi-
larger number of people aware of world. Technologies have evolved from cation and there is no need to structure
what this exactly means. It is at the Lotus Notes to web-based self-service anything. But even those tools are not
same time a particular way of organ- collaborative environments like eRoom widely spread in corporations. This lack
ising work and a technological tool or QuickPlace, just to name the most of usage of synchronous tools will be
for which several options do exist. We popular ones. And today there are doz- solved with a pragmatic approach by
have first asked Miguel Membrado, ens of such products. What is the feed- the hierarchy when it will be obvious
researcher, practitioner and member back of such dissemination? Are em- that security issues can be managed
of the consortium to present a state ployees working better in their daily and that productivity is really higher
of the art in a snapshot and Chitresh life? Are all employees using collabora- using these tools.
Markanda, also member o the consor- tive tools at their desktop?
tium to explain how the situation is
However solving the asynchronous tool
evolving in India. The answer is NO! The most used col- adoption problem will be much more
CWEs are not yet really part of most laborative tool is still the electronic difficult, and what follows shows why
of the professional environments. messaging system. Why? Because e-mail it is so important to change our way of
CWE is an organisational topic requir- is an unstructured way to send and thinking about collaboration, because
ing a real strategic decision at high share information; an immediate and this topic could be one of the next most
managerial level. Indeed, in order to effortless system. When you enable important corporate organisational
be widely and wisely used, employees people and teams to work with power- changes in the coming years.
and/or partners need to understand ful collaborative tools, you notice that
what they will gain out of it. In most it takes time for them to consider
of the situations, they just reject Do Collaboration Tools Have Improved
these tools as part of their daily work.
what might look complicated, to Corporate Organizations?
much structured, giving the impres- The reason is the length of the adop-
sion that you have to think before An established fact now is that even in
tion curve, because it takes time to most of the companies using collabora-
doing! The real issue is to know what change working habits to work in a
you want to achieve with such a tool tive tools the organization has not
more structured and disciplined way. If changed. It should be obvious that in-
and choosing one that will enable you the company is well organized and its
to evolve while your knowledge is troducing such tools in companies All rights reserved
processes well defined, documented should result in major organisational
evolving. Some tools look more at- and managed, the adoption of the col-
tractive than others do. However, changes. Why? Because those tools
laboration tools will be easier and allow people to be more intercon-
will they at the end perform what faster because they will drive and sup-
you expect? It is the real question you nected, to capitalize information, to
port the processes. work transversally instead of vertically,
have to ask yourself, and it is proba-
bly why we still need experts in this to need less hierarchy in their manage-
But, this is not the most common case. ment, in other words to be more effi-
eSang athan Consortium

A majority of corporations and SMEs cient, more productive and more crea-
are not that well organized and a huge tive. But it is not the case.
Nicole TURBÉ-SUETENS number of employees are still working As research shows us, the major issue is
with a lot of informal knowledge. To that these collaboration tools have

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been matching the rules of the existing organizations, not involved in the political decisions at a level never reached
the reverse. In fact, collaborative tools are used as suppliers, until now. For hierarchies, it is the end of hierarchical man-
facilitators in some cases, but not as disruptive tools chang- agement in companies, because nobody will suffer anymore
ing radically the behaviour of people. They are just enablers. not to use in their own company the tools that everybody is
On the opposite, the most unique recent experience is the using so efficiently in their private life. Even if the com-
emergence of the Web 2.0 paradigm with the birth of a gen- pany‟s managers don't want to introduce these participative
eration of new participative tools and the creation of huge technologies inside their companies, the pressure from their
social communities and user-generated contents. The blo- employees will be so strong that no one will hold this wave.
gosphere has grown from nothing in 2001 to more than 70
million of blogs in 2006, doubling each six months up to now. Participation, a Disruptive Change for the Organization
Social networks like mySpace have reached the 100 million
users in 3 years, and user-generated content web sites like The situation is critical for the organization, because for the
YouTube reached 100 million videos streamed daily in less first time, the consumer world is ahead in terms of new us-
than 2 years! It is not possible to stay quiet in front of this ages. Participative tools, even collaborative ones are used
phenomenon. Is it a pure consumer change or will it affect daily by millions of people in their private life, changing
also the companies? Why these participative tools have such a their habits and their way to see the world and interact. The
great impact and not the collaborative ones? new generations, still in college or universities, have grown
It seems that the Web 2.0 wave has woken up a "deep human up with these tools, which is not the case for their parents
longing for individuals to participate and make their voices who are today the companies‟ employees.
heard" (Thomas Friedman, The world is Flat, 2006). People
want to participate, to be involved, and to take part of. It is It is a disruptive change for the companies. Collaboration
the reason why blogs, wikis, and all user-generated content tools haven't succeeded in changing organizations and mind-
web sites are so successful. sets, because these tools are only facilitating current work
Participation versus Collaboration and matching current organizations, even if a small percent-
age of advanced users take profit from these new tools to
What is the real difference between participation and col- change their way of working (e-working, e-organizations). If
laboration? Collaborate is "to work together, especially in a it is impossible for most users to be fully involved in all the
joint intellectual effort; to work together toward a common company‟s collaborative processes, participative tools give
end" (Webster); Participate is "to take part" (Webster) or "to the technical infrastructure to allow all company's employees
join in, to take part, to involve oneself" (Wiktionary); What it to be really involved, each of them at their own level, in the
means is that participation action doesn't need a "work to- small or big decisions where they can have something to say.
gether" action, only a personal involvement in a global ac- Like in the blogosphere, if the company is able to manage
tion. It is easier for most people. "Working together" can be this new organization, a collective intelligence will be self-
done without reflecting upon the nature of work, while par- generated, increasing the efficiency, the productivity and the
ticipating induces involvement, and it is what people want, creativity of each individual, team and finally the whole
to be involved in the decision, to take part of them, even if company.
they are not fully collaborating to achieve the work.
Participative technologies are for everybody: each employee
Blogs are the best example of this new participation era. The can use them, publish, comment, interact, share, exchange,
origin of blog is egocentric: it is the ability for a human being validate, interrogate, freely, without any constraint, just
to publish his own thoughts to be read by his family, his following the good usage rules and conventions decided by
friends, and perhaps some other unknown internet users. the company. It is the reason why today the most important
Thanks to the possibility of commenting and “trackbacking” thing to do for a company is to implement immediately par-
on the other bloggers' posts, a huge network of links has been ticipative technologies, at least blogs and wikis, in all their
created day after day: the most important ones are not the departments, with all their teams, allowing people to ex-
URL links but the human links created between all bloggers press themselves, to interact through comments, to start
All rights reserved
thanks to these two trivial mechanisms. Step by step, a col- building participative interactions and create step by step a
lective intelligence has emerged from this pile of blogs, with- participative ecosystem. This way, it is not only an improved
out any real collaboration, just through a self-organization of information system that the company will earn; it will be a
active participation! Consequence is that world is changing, deep involvement of all the company‟s actors to reach a com-
not thanks to the collaborative technologies, but thanks to mon goal and to improve their collective results and intelli-
the participative ones that have unleashed the human will to gence, and finally their mutual collaboration.
be actively involved in his environment.
eSang athan Consortium

Participation is the key;
Consequences for institutions and hierarchies are huge. For Collaboration will be the natural consequence.
institutions, it is the emergence of the "democracy 2.0" con-
cept, a participative democracy, where the citizen will be Miguel MEMBRADO-NETCIPIA UK

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INDIA Sustainable Access in Rural India (SARI) project aims to take
new technologies to the poorest and most remote parts of
India‟s success in information technology and expansion of the country. Sari counts on a collaborative and interactive
Internet and electronic commerce, is redefining relationships research agenda drawing on the expertise of Harvard's Centre
in various process of business and governance. Information for International Development, IIT-Chennai and the MIT Me-
and communication technologies have been playing an impor- dia lab. For the villages, this would mean an online spot la-
tant role not only in enhancing efficiency and effectiveness bour market, market prices and other and other agricultural
of various organizations. There is a need of new model that information, e-mail and voice messaging and access to online
would be based upon the transactions in virtual space, digital government forms. More Info
economy and dealing with knowledge oriented societies. Other projects like Baramati Pilot, Toehold Artisans, E-com
In 2005 and the first half of 2006, Forrester received nearly Hub and Rural Connectivity.
400 client inquiries on collaboration on topics like collabora-
tion strategy, messaging platforms, team collaboration, col- In a recent article in Economic Times, Indian enterprises
laborative document management, Web conferencing, instant warm up to enterprise portals. With Gartner pegging the
messaging and blogs and wikis. According to Forrester, lead- worldwide portal market at $1 billion Enterprise Portals is
ing collaboration software vendors are unifying their collabo- big business. Conservative estimates by industry sources put
ration platforms and evolving them into Information Work- the Indian market at a million dollars, while others believe it
place platforms, which address not only collaboration but to be substantially bigger.
also content, portal, office productivity, and other technolo- Product Vendors gearing up for India Market:
gies. There are various vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, BEA, Ora-
cle, SAP and Sun Micro Systems who are providing collabora-
Changing Governance models in Indian economy
tive solutions. More Info
Reaching the unreached', NIC (Government of India initia- Corporate India - a rising user of collaboration technology
tive on eGovernance) is focused on greater attention to im- Organizations around the world no matter which industry
prove service delivery mechanism, enhancing the efficiency segment are fast realizing that communication and collabora-
of production, emphasis upon the wider access of informa- tion are fast becoming essentials to survive in midst of grow-
tion. NIC recently introduced Community Software Solutions ing competition. Corporations are realizing managing knowl-
(eNRICH), implemented eCommerce solutions to market rural edge and the innovation process as the most important new
products (RuralBazar etc), emphasis on content in local lan- discipline for gaining a competitive edge in satisfying custom-
guages and context. More Info ers.
GIS Telemedicine: The Syn- MphasiS, an Indian IT firm, specializes in the area of applica-
ergy tion management, legacy systems transformation, enterprise
Geospatial technologies used application integration and high-end architecture. With an
in combination with remote employee strength of over 1,400 spread across three company
field data collection tools, sites and a number of onsite locations, obviously faced the
connectivity to information challenges of knowledge sharing and collaboration. More Info
highways, wireless application The India center of Cable & Wireless specializes in high-end
and satellite systems hold a system integration, network design and management for the
new promise for addressing enterprise markets. With a virtual team spread across 70
infectious disease threats rap- countries worldwide, knowledge sharing and collaboration
idly and effectively at local and global levels, even in coun- amongst the onsite and offshore teams is critical for Cable &
tries with poor infrastructures More Info Wireless operations. More Info
DACNET facilitates Indian „agriculture online.‟ DACNET's key Godrej Sara Lee (GSL) has major emphasis on research and
criteria included ease-of-use, speed of information delivery, manufacture of quality household insecticides, and holds a
low incidence of errors, reduction in corruption, and afford- substantial market share in the Indian market. GSL chose MS All rights reserved
able services. By 2008, a farmer in any remote village can SharePoint Portal for its Business to Employee (B2E) deploy-
access information on Land use planning for crop, Real-time ment. More Info
information on good-quality seeds or nursery plants, prevail-
ing prices of farm equipment, agricultural produce, and prod- M&M is currently deploying MS SharePoint across its business
ucts. More Info sectors under project Sathi for effective knowledge manage-
KissanKerala is one of the collaboration technology based
social project in India. KISSAN is an Agriculture Data Centre. Conclusion
eSang athan Consortium

KISSAN is developed and maintained by a team of experts Time is not far when technologies like distributed spatial
from Information Technology, Agriculture, Research Scien- data portals, geo spatial libraries, corporate KM portals
tists, and Visual Media etc. More Info would transform public and private infrastructure, health-
care, Agriculture, Commerce into a form of ubiquitous, self

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serviced, self-sustaining and progressive knowledge economy. ware (upperware) and P2P infrastructures will be part of the
India is poised for growth! Click here to read more or contact collaborative infrastructure needed for Collaborative systems
Chitresh MARKANDA – TECHMAHINDRA India. for pervasive collaboration that offers enhanced knowledge
Future and Emerging Technologies and Para- sharing mechanisms, better decision making process and less
burdensome group processes support in distributed, global
digms for Collaborative Working Environ- networks of collaborators.
ments Expected impact. Collaborative Working Environments 2020
This is the 5th Collaboration@Work Expert Group Report pub- will create the following impact:
lished in July 2006 under the responsibility of EC Officer - at organisation level, it will enable a faster time to market,
Isidro LASO-BALLESTEROS from DG Information Society and increased business model innovation, better consistency of
Media. Here is the preface written by Isidro and the report is cross domain processes, and improved flexibility and lead
available online. time in global product development;
In 30-31 May 2006, New Working Environments Unit of the - at team level, it will lessen misunderstandings, will in-
Directorate General information Society and Media of the crease re-use of shared information and knowledge, and will
European Commission organised the 5th Expert group meeting make more efficient task management and allocation through
where recognised experts in the field discussed Future and competence networks;
Emerging Technologies and Paradigms that will affect the - at individual level, it will boost creativity by reducing rou-
R&D agenda in the Collaborative Working Environments (CWE) tine work, will improve use of idle time through pervasive
area in FP7 (2007-2013). The workshop gathered members of collaboration services and allow natural human interactions
the Collaboration@work Experts Group representing acade- within a group.
mia and research departments within IT industry. Building Blocks. NEW!! To achieve the stated vision of CWE in
This publication encompasses the findings coming out of the 2020, several RTD challenges have to be addressed, and the
workshop summarising the revised vision of the target Emerging paradigms have to be considered. From a practical
CE2020, expected impact, new three Building Blocks, new point of view, these RTD challenges can be translated into
list of 5 emerging paradigms and updated research chal- three „operative‟ Building Blocks (BBs) More info page 22
lenges brought forward by the experts.
Emerging paradigms. NEW!! Five contemporary paradigms
Main conclusions have been discussed, considering their place and scope and
detailing issues and approaches related to each paradigm:
Target outcome. In 2020 Collaborative Working Environments Web 2.0/Serious games/C-pod/(C-etiquette/Cooperativity.
will be based on collaborative systems including both general
collaborative infrastructures and specific applications for Research challenges. Updated from previous workshops
supporting human-centric collaboration. Collaborative infra- The changes to the RTD challenges (More info page 11) identi-
structures will offer seamlessly integrated context-aware fied in previous meetings were to make collaborative working
flexible support for distributed collaboration among individu- environments suitable for non-technical users, making sure
als and will draw on service-oriented reference models for that people who are not IT specialists can relate to and con-
massive semantic collaboration. Collaborative infrastructures trol the ways in which software and hardware support group
will provide pro-active support for pervasive human collabo- collaboration.
ration within their own organisations, with other organisa- On the other end of the IT competence spectrum, we should
tions and with virtual communities of experts and of prac- extend the reach of CWE to the research and advanced tech-
tice. Collaborative infrastructure will provide system compo- nical development community itself, thus bringing the out-
nents that comply with the Service Oriented Architectures comes of using tools and environments closer to the research-
allowing specific applications for group-driven composition ers who conceptualise, design, implement and study these
of systems components to support synchronous and asyn- tools and environments. In terms of granularity of context, it
chronous teamwork freeing users from routine to focus on was considered of value to investigate differences between
creativity with an effective use of distributed knowledge and global and regional context in terms of collaboration support
All rights reserved
competences. Converged networks and services, context needs and the context of using collaborative tools. The up-
modelling and reasoning, utility-like ICT, high-level middle- dated list of RTD challenges (which are mapped into the 3

eSangathan Newsletter is published by: eSangathan Consortium Useful links:
Editorial Coordinator: Nicole TURBÉ-SUETENS (Distance-Expert)
assisted by Marie-France MÉDANA @ NESSI:
eSang athan Consortium @ EU New Working Environments:
Editorial Board: Martina BACH, Leif BLOCH RASMUSSEN, Chitresh
@ AMI@Work:
Marianne ZIEKEMEYER @ Ambiant Intelligence:
eSangathan is supported by: European Commission (DG INFSO)
FP6-IST-035064, eSangathan Specific Support Action @ BrainBridges project:
For more information:

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