I have been in IT for long enough to have seen most of what we now take for granted grow on the shoulders of bygone revolutions. Email has been around forever, at least for a big part of the working lives of most of the people with whom I work. Forums/blogs/tweets/chat – I know it was a lot less “elegant” and nowhere near as cool as the present day phenomena, but Lotus Notes, IRC, bulletin boards and even Compuserve had many of the essential features of these ‘game-changing’ miracles back in the mid-1980s.
Similarly, I can recall sitting in meetings in the 80s (remember when meetings were held in real rooms with tables and chairs and other people physically present? What? You still do them like that?) talking about how to keep information secure with email, how floppy drives in every PC made data theft too easy, and how to manage people so they didn’t spend all their time on Lotus Notes rather than talking to people on the phone or face to face. If we were going to come up with easy answers to all this, I suspect we would have done it a long time ago.
In reality none of these communication or collaboration problems, proposed solutions, security issues or lack of clear security or business process solutions are new. Only the specific applications seeking to solve the problem are new, or in some cases the technology underlying them; the lack of clarity on how we safely and successfully manage these is sadly, far from new.