Far from nerdy: It's cool to collaborate

My nieces Denise and Deanna are 17 and 13, and they live off of text messaging
and Facebook.

When I told them recently that those were great collaboration tools, they gave
me blank stares. I tried to explain that they help you
connect with people, share information and coordinate
activities.

More blank looks. I was the nerdy uncle ? again.

But after reading Associate Editor Michael Hardy's
cover story on collaboration, I have better insight into
Denise and Deanna's reaction.

It isn't about the tools; it's what you do with
them. And that's a critical point in Hardy's story.
As one source told him, agencies aren't necessarily
looking to collaborate, they are looking for better
ways to send invoices or design airplanes.

"Collaboration is never somebody's primary job,"
Mark Levitt of IDC said.

That's what companies trying to sell these tools to government agencies need
to keep in mind. As Hardy explains, the key is demonstrating how these tools
will help them do their jobs. It isn't about the latest catchphrase.

The feature also is part of a 360-degree report, so make sure to go online and
see what our sister publications, Federal Computer Week and Government
Computer News, have done.

The 360-degree series of reports ? we've done installments on the Networx
contract and IPv6 ? are a collaboration effort. The three magazines coordinate
coverage, share resources and then bring everything together to draw a complete
picture of the topic.

Look for other features in the months ahead when WT, FCW and GCN take
on mobile applications, defense technologies and the green revolution.
But my nieces still probably won't think I'm cool.

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