Although businesses have always been collaborative spaces, with communication taking place by mail, phone, email or simple interpersonal interaction, the arrival of NITC (Information & Communication New Technologies) injected new life into this phenomenon. In 2012, Microsoft spent €1.2 billion to acquire the private social networking framework Yammer, targeted at business. It was a sign that “social communication” for enterprise had arrived, in all its varied forms from business chat functions to traditional desktop conferencing tools to internal social networking. This trend has led to more structured, more intelligent and more transparent discussion. That which has driven greater communication in our personal, social lives can successfully drive collaboration in our professional lives as well.
Still not convinced? Consider these four advantages:
# Simple and Efficient Communication
In a globalized world, the primary objective of collaborative tools is to connect people across the miles. This is even truer in businesses where team members are geographically isolated.
It can be argued that we can just use phones and email for this task, but what if you need to connect with multiple individuals for meetings, conferences, training or document presentations? More powerful solutions are needed, such as teleconferencing, video conferencing and web conferencing.
These solutions synchronize and centralize communications. The takeaway for your business is less email, less document pushing, less information loss, and, most importantly, more time saved by less travel and instant communication.
# Encourage Knowledge Sharing
“If HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive” – Lew Platt, former Hewlett Packard CEO
Collective knowledge is without a doubt one of the most valuable intangible business assets. However, this asset needs a framework and structure in order to be accessible and functional for business.
A company network is the most common way to store and share resources. But what happens when a colleague wants to update information located on the network? The user downloads the document, modifies it, and then uploads the revised document to the network. Shared email accounts are also used to send documents to colleagues, but they cannot edit them, and must instead create alternative versions which are then emailed to each individual again.
In short, the development of collaborative solutions enables employees to not just share documents, but to work on them together, simultaneously and to adapt and improve them in real time.
# Collective Innovation
Innovation is never born in isolation. Today, more than ever, collaboration drives business innovation. Google instinctively understands this basic fact. Its employees are encouraged to use 20% of their work time to think up new ideas, which are then submitted via an internal platform. They also organize eight brainstorming sessions a year with over 100 engineers participating. The results are self-evident—Google regularly leads the list of the most innovative companies in the world.
# Encourage Employee Participation
The collaborative culture in business is measured not only in terms of business success, but also in terms of employee well-being. Collaborative tools provide a feeling of involvement and decrease workplace isolation. Employees are naturally more motivated when they feel more connected to their colleagues, feel that management values their input and are more involved in collective decision-making.
Create collective knowledge, reduce costs, and increase company growth. With connected computing tools, you automate communication and encourage knowledge sharing, innovation and telecommuting. But these improvements are in vain if they do not serve a specific objective: to improve your organization’s performance and results at every level.