Collaborative environments have been evolving and effectively employed in large organisations and are believed to have high potential for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This chapter shares the findings of a case study that was conducted on twelve companies in order to assess the use of collaborative environments and their adaptation approaches through interviews with senior level managers and end-users. The need for such case studies has risen from an intensive literature review which revealed that SMEs are key players within the construction industry; however, there seems to be little evidence of their utilisation of IT for collaborative learning environments. Therefore, this calls for the necessity to developing an approach blending the right combination of factors which are believed to contribute towards the improvement and implementation of collaborative environments and may affect their success.
Influencing Factors Relating To Implementing Collaboration Technology
The literature review on collaborative environment implementations has revealed a number of issues that need to be considered with respect to failure of IT related implementations and collaborative working. These were mainly related to how it is introduced to large organisations. In an attempt to improve SMEs performance in collaboration initiatives, fifteen of the issues that are said to likely influence the success of implementing collaborative environments have been identified for further discussion. Five of these focus on organisational dimension and are interlinkedm, namely: process vision development, strategic planning, team working, decision making and perception in relation to change, risk management. Seven are socio-cultural in nature, namely: relationship, communication, empowerment, commitment, trust, mutuality and work attitudes. The other three are related to the legal aspect. These fifteen factors are classified into three alternative though complementary categories, namely: organisational, socio-cultural, and legal.