Cloud-Based Collaboration Drives Performance

By Samuel Greengard  |  Posted 2015-11-09 Email Print this article Print
Cloud-Based Collaboration

The Berkeley Research Group, a global advisory and consulting firm, turned to a file-syncing and social collaboration platform to improve employee productivity. 

A global organization with a highly disbursed workforce faces formidable challenges keeping teams and individuals in touch and in sync. Unfortunately, many legacy systems and tools are no longer adequate, and some introduce significant complexities and problems.

One organization that recognized the need to move forward with a more elegant solution is the Berkeley Research Group (BRG), a global strategic advisory and consulting firm with more than 700 working consultants in 26 global offices located on six continents.

In the past, the groups couldn't connect effectively, and files, data and communications were often out of sync, says Kevin Hamilton, a managing director for BRG's Healthcare Performance Improvement team. In many cases, consultants found themselves constantly shuffling emails and documents, while struggling to make sense of a constant barrage of questions, updates and file edits.

"People were losing control of versioning, and that was leading to confusion and inefficiencies," he reports. "Sometimes we had to cross-reference versions and make corrections manually."

As a result, the organization turned to a cloud-based collaborative platform from Huddle to take communication and collaboration into the digital age. The systems offered the right balance between file syncing and social collaboration, along with a high level of security—including access granted only by those with an authorized company email address.

"One of the problems with many of the solutions available is that they are extremely noisy," Hamilton says. "We are more interested in document collaboration than in social collaboration."

Transforming the Workflow

BRG replaced email and SharePoint with Huddle, which offers a highly automated and coordinated approach. The solution has transformed the way the company's consultants and other stakeholders work.

"As soon as a consultant receives a file, he or she can begin working on it and start making edits," Hamilton explains. "There's no need to wait for someone else to finish editing the file. It becomes a living, breathing document."

In addition, by making proposals and other documents available in a central repository, consultants now find it easier to locate critical files quickly and, in the event of a problem, view previous versions. The bottom line results have been dramatic. "We are able to bill more hours without having to hire additional people," he adds.

Adoption is spreading rapidly through the practice and beyond, Hamilton notes. Along the way, there have been few hiccups.

"One of the biggest challenges we have—and it's actually a good problem—is that we're bumping up against subscriber limits every quarter," he says. The company also found it necessary to reel in some social media features, along with notifications and alerts, and to ensure that existing social features complement document sharing.

BRG is well-positioned for critical digital communication and collaboration. "These features have allowed us to work faster and better than ever before," Hamilton points out.

"We have also gained content management capabilities that have further boosted our performance level. We're able to understand client needs more effectively and provide the best possible service so that we can build deeper and longer-lasting relationships."

Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).

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