Email for collaboration

I gave a training session yesterday on using our collaboration platform.  For project teams we usually create a dedicated work space with areas for document storage, virtual meeting rooms and forums for discussion/communication.  Traditionally, email is used as the tool for collaboration.  Teams send emails with attachments and every team member keeps a personal archive in his email archive folders (of course with a back up on the corporate server).  No need to say that the number of projects that have once started and since then stopped without any trace left, is considerable.
Most people see the advantages of central document storage and centralised project communication when I talk to them, but after the training session, they all return to day-to-day business … e-mail.
Apparently I am not the only one who is confronted with this, I found this recent blogpost on the same subject. By the way the blog of Jack Vinson is on my RSS list.
People say they hate email, but they live in it and feel at home I guess.
My next year strategy : "If you cannot beat them, join them."
For next year I budgetted an upgrade for our discussion forums (will call them communication forums or something by then).  This upgrade will allow to mail to a forum.  The project team will then no longer mail to the team, but mail to the project work space, where the communication (with attachments) is archived, while for the users, the interface will continue to be their email.
Hope it works …
PS I use attached picture to demonstrate how we currently work in projects (unfortunately pictures do not work well on this weblog)

One response to “Email for collaboration

  1. Hi, In development we use Dgroups a lot, an email based discussion forum, with a webbased interface to. It’s great as an archive and simple enough for users. It was developed for low bandwith users, especially. With my recent experiences in the Netherlands, I’m also thinking that for people new to platforms, it works best to start with an email based forum type. When people are more experienced you can move one level up and give them the choice…

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