Collaborative Technology Adoption: A Case Study of Success and Challenges

Plenary Speech


The 2003 International Symposium on Collaborative Technologies and Systems (CTS’03)

January 19 - 23, 2003



Collaborative Technology Adoption: A Case Study of Success and Challenges


Steven E. Poltrock

Fellow, The Boeing Company




Successful collaboration in a geographically distributed enterprise requires coordinated adoption of collaboration technologies across geographic distance and organizational boundaries.  Adoption of any new technology is generally slow and non-uniform.  Adoption of collaboration technology faces some unique challenges in addition to those common to other technologies.  These unique challenges are partly rooted in the social behavior the technologies are intended to support.  We developed a data conferencing environment that was deployed beginning in 1998 in The Boeing Company.  For the past four years we have tracked the growth in usage of this technology while investigating how people learned about it and the uses they made of it.  The diffusion of this technology followed many paths, encountered many obstacles, and was propelled by some key events.  We learned some lessons from this that may help others attempting to introduce these technologies. 



Short Bio

Steve Poltrock is a Technical Fellow in Boeing Phantom Works' Mathematics & Computing Technology organization where he leads projects supporting teamwork, workflow management, and knowledge management.  He worked as a programmer and engineer in the aerospace industry before obtaining a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Washington. He conducted research in perception, cognition, and mathematical psychology at the University of Denver and Bell Laboratories.  In 1984 he joined MCC's Human Interface Laboratory where he began studying team collaboration.  He joined Boeing in 1989 where he has researched and written about collaborative user interface design and development and about experiences deploying groupware systems.