Recently, I gave a presentation to a room of managers, frontline staff, and executives from across the organisational divide about the importance of collaboration. While we discussed a wide variety of topics, one topic in particular really stood out: the opportunity for better collaboration – specifically by leveraging some of the latest social collaboration technologies out there. As I stood up there in the front of this room, I have to admit I wasn’t surprised by their interest in these new technologies.
You see, most organizations today understand the power of collaboration and are trying to take advantage of it. We discussed this topic at length during my presentation and confirmed that most people were already actively collaborating. Collaboration has become a hot topic in Australia and New Zealand over the past several years. We recently conducted an in-depth survey of Australian and New Zealand business, asking about their collaboration intentions over the next 12 months. Out of 1,800 companies surveyed, 96% indicated that they need to regularly work with others. However despite this need collaborate, two-thirds of these people feel that they are struggling to do so effectively.
As I highlighted this finding to my peers during the presentation, I looked up to find a room full of nodding heads. I took this as a confirmation that most could relate. As I progressed through the presentation, the nodding heads turned into murmurs of agreement. We reached a tipping point when, I pointed out that our research showed that more than one in every two businesses in Australia and New Zealand are looking to implement additional collaboration tools by the middle of 2013.
The reasons for this are simple. Respondents to our survey indicated that better collaboration tools had a direct relationship to improving productivity, improving access to information, and delivering projects on time and on budget. Collaboration and better information management has led to saving over 2 hours per day per year for more than 27 precent of the respondents polled. In these organisations this adds up to 240 days per year, per person – or $52,113.60 – in saved productivity (Based off of average weekly earnings, May 2012, Australian Bureau of Statistics). Additionally, many respondents calculated that they had saved from $5000 to over $30,000 on projects through improved collaboration within a 12-month period. So, I asked the room full of business men and women whether they would be happy with seeing that return in their own business and the murmurs of agreement turned into a resounding yes.
And who can blame them? Based on the survey results, it is clear that collaboration is a key driver of business profitability for companies operating in Oceania, and perhaps it’s something to start thinking about if you haven’t already.