Today’s enterprise has no borders. The pace of business continues to accelerate, thanks in part to a mobile workforce and constantly connected customers. Competition is getting more intense. Providing a product or service immediately, effectively and efficiently is now a requirement, not an aspiration.
If you want to avoid being left behind, you can’t wait for a response to an email when something needs to be done. By the time you get in touch with the person you need, your competition will be three steps ahead of you.
There are many tools available today that can facilitate communication across your organization, including chat, instant messaging, video conferencing and web-based collaboration. However, simply implementing one or more of these tools will not improve business processes, speed decision-making or enhance customer service. In order to maximize the value of these tools, you need to develop an enterprise collaboration strategy that enables productive engagement and interaction with employees, managers, partners and customers.
A comprehensive enterprise collaboration strategy delivers seven key business benefits:
- Drives optimal productivity and performance. Collaboration enables the free flow of knowledge, data and best practices. Employees are more in tune with each other – and their customers – which helps them do a better job. Without collaboration, a great deal of employee knowledge will be untapped and most likely wasted.
- Reduces travel and phone costs. Virtual team spaces reduce the need for face-to-face meetings, allowing companies to drastically reduce costs for travel, lodging and related expenses. Similarly, instant messaging costs significantly less than long-distance phone conversations.
- Brings together distributed teams. If you have more than one location or employees who work remotely, a collaboration strategy makes interactions seamless and productive. Two or more heads are often better than one, even if each of those heads is in a different place.
- Makes users more “available.” Sometimes people are unavailable to speak by phone, but they can collaborate via text or chat. A multimedia collaboration strategy can make this possible.
- Provides the flexibility and agility of a small business. Collaboration removes complicated levels of red tape and bureaucracy that hamper both internal and external communication. By streamlining business processes, companies can also reduce operational costs and speed the sales process.
- Gets tasks completed faster. Is there anything more frustrating than finding out that you’re doing the same job as someone else, or waiting on an approval that has already been given? Collaboration helps to coordinate tasks, eliminate duplication, consolidate sequential steps and ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Leverages social interaction. Many companies are major proponents of integrating social media into business processes, while others are skeptical at best. However, social collaboration can be a natural component of enterprise collaboration, which is social by nature. It fosters interaction through employees’ social networks, not just corporate networks.
Your comprehensive collaboration strategy should not only be shaped by your organization’s specific business requirements, but by the needs and work styles of your staff. Most organizations have multiple generations of workers who communicate and collaborate differently. In my next post, I’ll explore how organizations can effectively embrace those different forms of communication in their technology decisions.
by Corey Steere, ProSys Account Executive, helping customers meet their corporate business objectives through technology.