Technology and collaboration: a match most think is made in heaven. However, when implementing a collaborative strategy, most corporations fall victim to the needs of today. Companies routinely find the one tool that resolves their immediate problem. This often leads to a plethora of disorganized, mostly unused tools that no one really understands when and how best to make use of. Instead of finding the one tool that immediately fills a gap, we need to look at the strategic implications of collaboration software. Pan Tan of HyperOffice’s post, The Strategic Potential of Collaboration Software, elaborates more on the idea of looking at the strategic benefits of collaboration technology. Tan offers up several alternatives to this vicious cycle of only looking at immediate resolutions to problems: look at Collaboration Software Strategically.
Collaboration is what we’re all ultimately involved in, so let’s try to make the most of our efforts. Tan offers up several long term strategic possibilities that collaboration software creates:
Global Talent Market. I know this has been said before, but it’s true and shouldn’t be overlooked. The fact is, with improvements in collaborative technologies “the whole world is now a big market for talent and resources.” Tan points out “This creates a massive potential for small and mid-sized organizations who now have access to the best talent and resource across the globe at the most competitive rates, without the overheads of managing such a team in house.”
Welcome to the Organizational Grid. (Cue Tron music) Traditionally, information has been spread throughout an organization, on various servers, computers, databases etc, making finding the pertinent data difficult and time consuming. To combat this disjointed, costly and overwhelming system, “Collaboration software can be seen as an ‘organizational grid’ where organization information resides and may freely be shared across the company network.” This is hugely valuable as it not only increases transparency but also speeds up time it takes to find necessary data. Additionally, by creating an organization grid with collaboration software it “encourages people to go beyond strict roles to contribute knowledge, and help each other out – a freeing up of knowledge trapped inside the minds of employees.”
Increase Customer Engagement. Collaboration software allows companies to engage customers, partners and vendors in new ways, the likes of which corporations never before been able to do. With collaboration software, companies can bring customers and partners right into their business flow, resulting in better products, happier customers, and increased partner loyalty. Tan offers up an example to help illustrate the power this philosophy creates “a company may set up an extranet space for a customer project which involves external vendors. This is a place where everyone has a transparent view of project status, and can access information and contribute when their activities are due.
Streamline. We’re seeing multiple functions (i.e. project management, delegation, document review, HR requests etc…) all being able to be integrated into collaborative software. As we continue to see the consolidation of these functions in one space, collaboration software will therefore become a centralized hub for company processes, comments Tan. This has the ability not only to simplify processes but also break down corporate silos, where process may share the same information and have interactions.