In this article we’ll delve into the specifics of implementing collaboration platforms in your business, covering the hows and whys of this sometimes confusing topic.
Every Business Is Different
Without wanting to state the obvious, it is true to say that every business is unique and because of this, every business has needs that unique. It is vital, therefore, that you take time to think about what it is that you want this new platform to do, and understand how it will both change and benefit the company, before you jump into spending money and implementing a collaboration platform. It is important to identify what you want from this tool.
Selecting a collaboration platform that suits your aims, needs and working environment is crucial to success. Integrating a collaboration platform isn’t merely about updating some software; the end goal is to decidedly alter the culture of the business for the better.
Examples Of Success
A good example that illustrates the incredible changes that can be wrought within a business environment through the use of a collaboration platform alone is the runaway success at the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The UK’s largest public service department and one of the country’s biggest employers with over 120,000 staff, the DWP utilized a Spigit platform to shake up its work culture. Spigit’s cloud-based crowdsourcing approach was ideal for a large employer that was looking for ways to engage its staff and generate new ideas. Through the use of this tool, the DWP accomplished greater interaction between its work force as well as a saving of £20 million, found through staff suggestions.
While this success story is a particularly strong example of the benefits of collaboration, it is by no means alone. Time and again successes like this are seen as silos are broken and information is shared.
Uses Of Collaboration Platforms
Platforms like Quip, Slack, Office365 and Atlassian’s Confluence help streamline team work to produce more effective project plans, budgets or press releases. Confluence’s ability to centralize and make available all documents, allows real-time revision from colleagues, bringing alternative and thought-provoking ideas to the table. Knowledge is readily available and work output is optimized. Errors are reduced and travel costs saved. It is benefits like these that provide a time and cost advantage and allow a business to alter its work mode as the nature of business becomes more mobile and dispersed.
Need For Management To Be Onboard
Without the participation of employees, collaboration is null and void. And to promote the engagement of employees in any organization managers must be fully onboard. The change requires interaction between executives and staff both on the platform and off, as behaviours in the work place and executive’s willingness to listen will affect employee’s willingness to participate. Similarly, a show of implementing some suggestions - or at least commenting upon them - exhibits the management’s commitment.
Collaboration provides feedback loops and transparency so that each action taken by a member of staff can be learned from a built upon. Decisions can be made further down the chain of hierarchy by less senior staff, but who are directly involved in the process. This move offers staff a change to take responsibility for their actions and a feeling of involvement. This change also removes the need for management to be omniscient and to sign off on everything.
Manager’s made need time to get used to this new way of working, but it will build a more efficient machine. These platforms instill communication, improvement and constant learning. As was mentioned earlier, integrating business collaboration isn’t just rolling out some software: it is changing the very culture of business. Ultimately, this leads to further equality, the acceptance of personal responsibility, and company growth.
Nicki Doble is Managing Director of 99th Floor. 99th Floor is a digital consultancy firm which helps its clients create and deliver their digital strategy (simply).