In a tough economic climate cost savings are a priority, but at the same time it’s important that organisations remain competitive and assess how they can use technology to help them escape saturated markets and embrace new opportunities ahead of their competitors.
A crucial prerequisite to achieving cost savings and increasing productivity is to decrease barriers to collaboration that exist in your organisation. Where an enterprise is too thinly spread, or too compartmentalised into distinct business units, its ability to hone in on an opportunity and run with it becomes compromised. Laborious, rigid and sequential internal processes, and protracted supply chain management, increase cost and delay projects -- hampering speed to market with new products or services and limits the ability to add value or compete on price.
By Tim Stone, Sales Business Development Manager
By contrast, the ability to flexibly and dynamically collaborate, both across an organisation and beyond it, offers the opportunity to form and disband new workgroups at will, from across different functions, locations, even different companies helping to make better use of available resources and increase the speed that decisions are made. While technology tools are essential for successful collaboration to take place, changes to culture and processes also play an important role in improving business performance through collaborative practices. With this in mind, in addition to looking at how your technology architecture enables collaboration, it’s important to consider whether your corporate culture and processes are conducive to effective collaboration in order to avoid wasting time and resources.
Cisco recently conducted some research, which highlighted the influence that organizational culture and processes have on successful collaboration. The full report can be read here, but I wanted to highlight a couple of areas from the research that outline important cultural and process driven success factors that can help introduce effective collaboration practices:
● Executive participation: Management teams serve as a good role model for using collaboration tools effectively.
● Formal collaboration processes: Processes help employees to understand how and when to collaborate
● Effectiveness tracking: Use metrics to track collaboration effectiveness e.g. travel cost savings, time to market
● Direct rewards: The level of collaboration is directly correlated with rewards
With the right culture, process and technologies, a productive, borderless organisation can drive down costs, bypass roadblocks, expand more easily, exploit new channels and try out new services. It also has more flexibility to outsource functions or business proc