Collaboration and Communication Revamp How We WorkBy Samuel Greengard Print
Collaboration and communication are at the center of today's enterprise, but unlocking maximum results requires more than simply deploying the right tech tools.
The social technologies tools offer the company a straightforward and streamlined way to meet in online spaces, interact through internal social media functions, view and share blogs, engage in video chats and switch on unified messaging. Many features are available on mobile devices as well.
Although offices and employees are free to interact in their native languages, enterprisewide communication must take place in English. In addition, the company has created extensive guidelines and established standards for creating videos and other content that cover everything from how to create a profile to best practices in communication and interaction online. It engaged in an extensive marketing campaign to inform and educate employees about the benefits of the system.
"The system has led to a culture change and fundamentally altered the interaction among people in geographically distant regions," De Gier reports. "People are communicating with each other in a way that wasn't possible only a few years ago."
The Message is the Thing
Ernst & Young's Nichols says that organizations must embrace collaboration tools and use them in a smarter and more targeted way. Not only do these systems help unlock productivity and trim costs, they also usher in fundamentally different ways of thinking and interacting.
What's more, younger workers who have grown up with a steady diet of video, text messages and 140-character posts are demanding these tools—and increasingly hoisting them on the enterprise via BYOD. "The infrastructure and tools have gotten to the point where there is zero latency and maximum portability," Nichols says.
Success revolves around building systems that can deliver any message to any device or person at any time and in any place. This includes, for example, unified messaging that syncs across devices to create a stream that's visible anywhere and at any time.
In addition, "The days of massive manuals and knowledge bases are over," Nichols says. "People expect to obtain desired information and knowledge in small, digestible chunks on demand. They also won't accept long ramp-up times. They want to switch a device on or use an app without any learning or delay."
Within this new environment, it's also crucial to understand the demographics of the groups using the systems and how the technology and tools map to processes. "Not everyone collaborates in the same way," Nichols points out. "It's important to understand how a job function works and provide the right tools and environment. A highly structured and uniform approach no longer works."
Accenture's Raj adds: "It's important to create the right incentives to drive the desired behavior. And it's necessary to put the right controls, security and privacy protections in place, especially when you're dealing with partners and customers."
Make no mistake, communication and collaboration are transforming organizations. They're remapping the way people connect to information and each other.
"It's no longer about the CIO or IT department tossing out tools," Accenture's Hamilton emphasizes. "Organizations must integrate technologies to create a more efficient environment that fits today's digital enterprise. When done right, collaboration tools can turn an organization on its head and provide huge gains."
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