A couple of days ago I looked back into the age of ‘digital steam’. My first home modem had a speed of 1200/75 and at work when we moved from 1200 half-duplex to 2400 full-duplex it seemed to be a momentous event.
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But in some respects that simplistic age had much to offer, in the workplace connectivity was mainly about extending existing applications to remote terminals. There was no need for a new client to take advantage of what was on offer at the dawn of digital communications. Life and work was simple.
Today we have a fabulous array of business, personal and hybrid applications. These applications can be used in pretty well any mode you care to mention – on-line, off-line, hosted or client server – you name it and it will be delivered. But for the average ‘Joe Public’ are they getting what they need? Considering we are now well into the ‘digital business’ era I am still faced with many instances of users who find what our industry is offering to be ‘confusing’, ‘complicated’ or ‘poorly executed’.
One of my pet hates is the inappropriate use of Portals. Of course Portal technology has a lot to offer but so many of the implementations are half-hearted and poorly implemented. This often leaves users with both a series of un-connected network / desktop applications and portlets that are not comprehensive, often are sluggish and in themselves they are effectively a collection of second rate applets.
The next few years needs to be about ‘digital unification’ moving away from the loosely federated environments that exist in many working environments today to something much better. We need to move beyond Unified Communications to Unified Collaboration, a subtle but significant difference.
In the next post in this series I will describe an environment that I would like to see emerging, in the meantime I am interested in your views on this subject.