If you haven’t yet implemented an online collaboration platform in your organization, chances are your team’s workflow consists of a siloed assortment of instant messages, email inboxes, to do lists, and digital notes. Wouldn’t it be great if your employees had more time to spend collaborating to come up with the next big thing? Instead, they probably burn more hours than you’d like each week digging around in email and unconnected file storage platforms, hunting for the information they need to get their jobs done. You can make that possible by implementing a unified online collaboration platform to help keep all their information together in one place, and make it more accessible across the company as a whole to facilitate collaboration and transparency.
You’re onboard with changing the way your team works, now how do you get the entire organization to understand the importance of streamlining your employee’s workflows to accelerate their productivity? Start with some hard facts. McKinsey Global Institute says with the right collaboration tools, you could be getting 20-25%1 more out of your knowledge workers. Think about that for a minute. If you have a team of 20 people, that’s like gaining the productivity of 4 full time employees! On second thought, can your organization afford not to implement online collaboration?
As you begin your search for a tool that empowers your company’s employees to better coordinate their efforts, identify the challenges in this new world of work that put the biggest strain on your organization. Does your organization struggle with managing communication between geographically dispersed teams? Is there inconsistency in support of mission critical applications across the proliferation of employee mobile devices? And how is today’s faster pace of projects and iterative product cycles impacting your organization’s performance? All of these factors create new demands on internal collaboration, and are reasons to consider piloting a collaboration platform.
5 Key Organizational Challenges an Online Collaboration Platform Can Help Address
You are willing to go as far as it takes to get the best talent for your organization. Sometimes, that pushes people outside their comfort zone. With a workforce geographically dispersed all over the world, what was once solved with face-to-face collaboration is going to have to be addressed over computer screens, internet connections, and time zones. Pretty quickly, the tools and practices you worked with when everyone was under one roof start to look out of place. An online collaboration platform can help bridge the gap, maintain productive relationships with team members all over the world, and help you stay competitive in a global economy.
Work is no longer a place. Even for teams that share an office, productivity can happen anywhere, on any number of mobile devices. Yet, in the absence of physical walls to bring everyone together, your employees need a place where they can digitally tap someone on the shoulder, discuss a project, and access shared ideas. Institutional knowledge isn’t locked in some file cabinet or in an office building anymore—there needs to be an online resource that is available whenever and wherever people need it.
Agile. Scrum. Just-in-time. The way we work has sped up considerably. Which means there’s less time dedicated to planning and discovery, and more time spent getting stuff done. It’s a welcome advancement. However, it also puts increased pressure on coordinating everyone’s efforts, handing off tasks, and making sure teams are on the same page. Collaboration means something different than it used to. So why are employees still chasing around files in their email inboxes? A more modern platform can help your organization match the new pace of development.
Iterative Product Cycles
As a result of this sped up workflow, projects are no longer confined between neatly marked start and finish lines. Work is ongoing; as improvements happen along the way, they get pushed live, and the team marches on. In the process, teams become self-propelling units, and there’s less and less need for the classic project manager roles. However, such a liquid process does require some structure to succeed. Otherwise, teams might set out to solve one problem, and, in the weeds of their efforts, lose their way and end up solving another. Make sure your organization is pulling in the same direction. Having a stable, collective platform to collaborate and track progress keeps the mission safe.
Fragmented Use of Tools
Everyone has their own preferred ways of getting things done. With a workforce that’s increasingly made up of people who don’t know a world without the Internet, employees will find a way of collaborating and sharing, whether you set standards or not. Without proper leadership, it’ll get done differently from person to person, meaning a lot of wasted time digging around for the right information. Or, you could embrace the fact that people have become accustomed to communicating through social media and cloud-based tools, agree on a methodology for sharing, and get everyone onboard. According to Forrester Research, just 12% of information workers have access to a dedicated enterprise social network.2 If your workforce have adopted certain habits in their personal lives, why not channel those behaviors in their work lives, too?
If these five challenges are issues your organization is struggling with every day, isn’t it time you empowered your employees with the tools they need to be more effective in their jobs?
1 Chui, Michael, Manyika, James, et al. “The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies” McKinsey & Company Publications (2012). Accessed February 28, 2014. http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy
2 Tech Target. “Companies ponder role of enterprise social networks in workflows.” Accessed Feb 28, 2014. http://searchmanufacturingerp.techtarget.com/news/2240037832/Manufacturers-try-to-fit-enterprise-social-networks-into-workflows