Collaboration used to happen in boardrooms with whiteboards and bagels. Today, business doesn’t happen face-to-face as often as some would like. These days, I witness more teams communicating on conference calls, via email exchange, and on messaging applications. This can make it challenging to get to know co-workers, partners, and customers.

With so many employees working in virtual teams, many business relationships depend on collaboration technology. And that’s not a bad thing — as long as people are using the right technology in the right way.

Value from collaborative tool sets extends far beyond the features and functionality they provide.

Value from collaborative tool sets extends far beyond the features and functionality they provide. Achieving desired outcomes determines their value. Some of these outcomes are objective, like onboarding new employees efficiently. Some are subjective, such as an emotional connection achieved through interaction.

With 64% of the private sector digital value at stake tied to people and connections, it is critical to understand how your users define value.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” In today’s dynamic collaborative environment, it’s imperative to know not only where you’re going but to also understand that the road is constantly changing. To reach your target, you must be clear about the following:

  • The outcome you are looking to achieve
  • The capabilities or toolsets required
  • How the capabilities will help you reach your target
  • How you will measure success

Not only do we want to identify the functionality required from our collaboration solution, we also need to define value on a personal level.  And, the way we communicate outside of work influences this personal measurement of value.

People have to have a delightful experience in their hand all behind a single plane of glass.

alice-and-rabbitIn the last 10 years, users have downloaded 140 billion apps from Apple iTunes alone. Roughly 10% of these were business related. The vast majority of applications people download and use daily are for personal use, including those for engaging on social networks. The collaborative functionality of these applications influences how business users engage and interact.

The surprising truth about social networks is that they fill the humanity gap many global workers feel in cold, impersonal email chains and conference calls. Wouldn’t people expect the same dynamic environment when at work? Whether “work” happens in an office, at a customer site, at an airport, at a Wi-Fi hotspot in a local coffee shop, on the road, or somewhere in between.

If you define value at a personal level and success at a corporate level, then it is the integration of the two that will help you avoid an unplanned journey down the rabbit hole.

Today, demand for mobile and wireless technologies in business is pervasive. The unique capabilities of mobile devices enable new ways of working that were not possible before.

And, the better that mobile technology becomes, and the more employers embrace the “bring your own device” (BYOD) philosophy, the more connected they can become to the workplace. A workplace that can now exist on the same device as their social networks and family photos.

So how do we define a strategy that will allow an architecture to align with user defined value?

For every business outcome you define, toolset you identify, and KPI you set in place, it is the people using these solutions that ultimately determine their value. After all, in an age when technology reigns supreme, people still remain a company’s greatest asset.

Working together, people can achieve extraordinary things.

Learn more about how collaboration technology can help you empower innovation and deliver business value everywhere.

Lower image: Source


Lowell Johnson

Senior Director

Advanced Services for Collaboration