As I discussed in my last post, I'm part of a panel discussion at Ariba LIVE that will talk about leveraging the community - specifically online platforms - to collaborate. We're really fortunate to have David Heller, a Director of Technology and eSourcing at HP, participating in the discussion and sharing his perspective. David's team has been early adopters of Ariba Exchange to support their efforts on the Ariba platform and they've utilized some functionality in Exchange that enables the HP team and their Ariba counterparts to collaborate efficiently.


David agreed to answer a few questions about his experience, goals and non-work web favorites.


Justin Fogarty (JF): What challenges do you see in the collaboration process - particularly with key suppliers/vendors and your team - today?


David Heller (DH): Well, who's going to argue against collaboration? Everyone is for collaboration. Collaborating effectively is the challenge. People are spread very thin so to get them to pitch in and collaborate more effectively is difficult. The overwhelming volume of emails, schedules and time zones slow down the collaborative process. So in a sense, it's the tools they are using that make it difficult rather than an open hostility to working together towards a collective goal.


JF: How do you see social media filling some of those gaps?


DH:  If I start by saying to my colleagues "I'm going to blog my thoughts", it instantly gets the eye roll. There's a dismissive attitude around social media in the professional setting because originally many people are exposed to it through consumer applications and they're used  for play rather than work. They're on Facebook or Twitter and see inane things  happening, so the perception is that people will just be wasting  time using social media at work. Therefore, it's a mistake to present social applications as "Facebook for the enterprise".


Instead, you have to dispell the myths about the technology and get rid of thoughts that stem from Facebook. Introduce applications or content on social platforms and then let people make the link. You'll hear 'that looks like Facebook but I can really see how we can use it to do x." getting past perc that it's a waste  of time or only used for play stuff.


That being said, you do have the challenge of adoption. Andrew McAfee defined it as the "9x problem", meaning a replacement must be 9x better than what  it's replacing in order to gain adoption. Are microblogs perceived as 9x better than existing forms of communication? Probably not so it's an uphill battle.

***Part 2 of the interview will dig into how David, his HP colleagues and their Ariba counterparts are using social media for collaboration, specifically in a walled off, private Group area of Ariba Exchange.***