Business Collaborator highlights Harvard OCPM research

Business Collaborator‘s latest press release, entitled Harvard Report Shows UK Leads Way in Benefiting from Online Collaboration, gives a vendor-specific viewpoint on the research undertaken at Harvard University into online collaboration and project management (OCPM) technology (see my previous posts, eg: this one, and the most recent one).

BC claims the research found "UK companies are realising more benefit than their US and Canadian counterparts". This is something of a sweeping generalisation as the Harvard research was based on projects run by only five vendors: BC (the sole UK representative), Constructware (before its acquisition by Autodesk),, Meridian Systems and Primavera. In my view, this statement would carry more weight if the sample had included more vendors from both sides of the Atlantic, including other major players like BIW Technologies and 4Projects from the UK, and Buzzsaw and Citadon in the US (unfortunately, participation required payment of a substantial sponsorship fee, plus other contributions in time, etc, that I know BIW, and presumably other vendors also, were reluctant to pay).

Where do UK firms realise ‘more benefit’? BC says: "The UK participants lead the way in placing more emphasis on the intangible and quasi-tangible benefits that OCPM technology bring to their organisations rather than merely recognising the efficiency savings in monetary terms." The release focuses on two (no doubt carefully selected, and somewhat atypical) UK client case studies, in which the organisations gained business benefits through standardising, learning from, and improving upon their key processes, capturing knowledge and using it to disseminate best practice on future projects, and re-engineering processes.

I do think the Harvard research project was very valuable, not least for creating a framework for assessing quasi-tangible and intangible benefits. But I think BC’s UK-slanted generalisations are a bit over-the-top – IMHO, the release would have been entitled something like: Harvard Report shows BC clients deliver better business processes, perhaps backed up a statement like "BC clients look beyond cost savings to find real business benefits".

Any way, the debate will move on next month when the NCCTP publishes the results of its market research (I have just received another copy of the Benchmark presentation and a ‘supplementary analysis’ giving additional details; the final report report is still in preparation).

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