Three Ways Collaboration Technology Can Boost Business Results
Have you collaborated lately? In the era of digital transformation, more than half of corporate work has become group-based, performed primarily by teams of three to eight people, according research from Knoll. And, Gartner has identified a new collaborative work style called “swarming,” in which ad hoc groups of assorted people rapidly hone in on a project.
Since collaboration is viewed by many CEOs as the cornerstone of innovation, collaboration technologies have become a critical element of workplace strategy. Deployed effectively, collaboration technology can improve workplace productivity by 20 percent as employees work smarter rather than harder.
In particular, it can help you address three common challenges to efficient collaboration.
- Collaboration on the go. One reason collaboration technology is growing in importance is that the people who need to collaborate often aren’t at their desks, in the same office or even the same continent. In today’s connected workspace, work happens anywhere technology can enable it—in the office, in a home office, a coffee shop, a client site, a coffee shop or an airport lounge. Nearly half—48 percent—of employees spend at least 30 percent of their time away from their primary work area, according to ZK research.
- Virtual meetings for all. Today’s new tools make it easy to host virtual group meeting without the time and expense of traveling to a physical location. When time is of the essence, e.g., a product launch or an acquisition, a virtual meeting can expedite important decisions. Attendees can participate on their mobile device, desktop computer or in a conference room with a shared large screen, collaborating across the miles.
- Agile collaboration in the networked organization. As collaboration and innovation have become business priorities, the traditional hierarchical chain of command is being replaced with complex, agile networks of talent comprising employees and on-demand talent. A mix of collaboration tools can enable fast-moving teams to quickly engage, share ideas, store important documentation and more.
Bringing it all together
Encompassing a broad range of applications and tools, including voice, video, unified messaging, IM/chat and collaboration software, the right collaboration tools can enable rapid creativity and innovation. Many are device- and location-agnostic—a must in BYOD environments. Toward that end, many organizations are turning to cloud services, including software-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service or the emerging enterprise-desktop-as-a-service, to provide accessible, scalable workplace tools wherever and whenever people are working.
With the cloud-based Cisco WebEx, for example, you can create a face-to-face video meeting or share a presentation with a quick email invitation. Cisco Spark unified communications platform provides a single virtual space for videoconferencing, video and audio communications, digital white boarding and wireless presentations. Google and Citrix ShareFile have partnered to integrate ShareFile into Google’s Gmail in a platform for secure content-sharing and collaboration.
Whatever solutions you adopt, you’ll need to take data security measures to protect sensitive information transmitted through file-sharing software and other collaboration tools. Cloud-based services such as Box and Dropbox are easy to adopt—with or without the CIO’s blessing—but they aren’t uniformly secure or compliant with data privacy regulations. And, in the era of BYOD, you can’t ignore mobile device management, either.
So who’s ready to collaborate?