Why Collaboration in the Workplace Is Key & How to Achieve It
How Businesses and Employees Can Benefit from Effective Collaboration Software
Businesses understand the need for effective and transparent communication in the workplace to enhance productivity and eliminate redundancies. But do they have the tools to achieve it?
Clear, transparent and fluid communication in the workplace is key to organizational productivity. As the competitive landscape grows more intense, customers become the central focus for enterprises keen to remain competitive. Meanwhile, employees are increasingly crucial assets for businesses working to be agile, achieve faster time to market, win new business and retain customers. The more effectively employees can collaborate, the higher the organization’s overall operational efficiency will be.
As business and technology research firm Forrester describes it, collaboration is “sharing activities and data across a network of allies, enterprise collaboration codifies the knowledge that a company creates and efficiently disseminates it to the people who need it—when they need it.” Enterprise collaboration substantially improves productivity for departments and small teams. Businesses, be they startups or large enterprises, understand this and invest millions of dollars in collaboration software. But how did the need for collaboration software arise? Isn’t email—the most widely accepted communication tool—capable of fully enabling collaboration? The answer to that is NO!
Although email still retains a hallowed place inside organizations and, arguably, won’t be dead any time soon, it isn’t enough. People also need real-time collaboration, file sharing, chat, voice and video conferencing, mobility, analytics, large cloud storage space and so forth. That is where email falls short.
Current Conditions Limit Full Engagement
Collaboration shouldn’t be periodic or fragmented. It should occur continually across the entire communication lifecycle. People need to be able to engage and share across mediums and in real time. This is encouraging more and more businesses to adopt improved collaboration practices. Enhanced workplace technologies, such as unified communications (UC), are improving collaboration by integrating different aspects of communication. However, UC is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that provides a consistent, unified user interface and user experience across multiple devices and media types.
Unified communications must integrate many different types of media because of the one fundamental problem that modern software suffers from: the inability to provide useful commodity functionality all in one place. In response, an increasing number of businesses are now trying to build additional functionality into their own platforms by adding features that compete with other popular services, essentially putting them in the same league as other unified communications platforms. Twitter and LinkedIn are two recent examples.
Standardization Is the Path to Unification
The addition of a chat messaging feature in LinkedIn’s message box may herald the beginning of a critical change. Businesses now realize that users would rather have all their requirements met in one place rather than going through multiple channels and interfaces. UC helps integrate the existing array of channels and media types, but what users really want is to avoid rummaging through different applications altogether in favor of a single truly consistent user experience. The future of communication has to be unified, but of course, communication is only one aspect of collaboration. An ideal enterprise collaboration platform should also be capable of mapping out every aspect of an organization’s functions and then delivering a unified experience in a truly standardized manner. It’s clear what businesses need in order to achieve greater efficiency. The question is, will today’s enterprise collaboration tools be able to achieve it?