Clear your Gears from Sand: the Importance of Collaboration Platforms for Business
It is clear that business solutions today need tweaking every so often. With such dynamism, a lot of thought needs to go into the processes that craft these solutions. Facilitating free flow of thoughts in creating and even tweaking the solutions should be a priority now more than ever before. Importantly, collaboration and the position of communication in facilitating these necessary cooperations is all too critical.
Enterprises clearly are more about profits. However, profits only grow out of connectivity and the ability to combine the individual capabilities of every member of the team. Such interconnectivity at the enterprise level can attain the benefits of “multiplication effect.” And, this whole statement seems like the perfect definition of collaboration.
Distinctive features of modern business collaboration
Most production processes in the enterprise world today are more complicated than before. This situation means that businesses now need more people and undertake more complicated production processes to get to the end product. Moreover, getting these many people to work fluidly on a single project is not easy. Most businesses now require a talented executive who takes the lead. Importantly, their requirements underscore the need for collaboration.
Modern business cooperation is working with customers, suppliers, partners, and subordinates. Everything is interconnected and works as one fluid mechanism. The effectiveness of people and organizations is a necessary factor, without which the success of the company is impossible in the long term. To achieve business results, company employees working on projects or joint tasks are grouped. These may be functional teams (employees of the same function), cross-functional (eg. project teams) or management teams. Regardless of the type of team, it is necessary to build qualitative interactions among its members for the group’s activity to be truly productive.
Moreover, the different industries require corresponding communications channels. Primarily, this statement means that information exchange within industries is channel-specific. Meaning, representatives from different industries may never have a common point when communicating. However, even different businesses share specific interests, and it is these interests that create a need for better or clearer communication strategies to heighten collaboration among all the parties.
Consequences of misunderstanding and the lack of communication for business
The speed of any communication channel will always affect the strength and efficiency of collaboration. Do note that the more complicated enterprises’ structures that exist today require better communication processes. This requirement is especially important because a significant portion of industry failures stem from misunderstandings, misuse or underuse of excellent communication channels available, and loss of feedback, directives or opinions within the available communication processes.
Also, lack of communication between staff and departments significantly slows down the resolution of issues, provokes numerous conflicts and misunderstandings, and therefore leads to internal tensions in the team. Without a communicative connection, each person seems to be in his own “information bubble” and does not fully understand how his activity is related to the goals and objectives of the company. In this case, different areas (groups, departments) begin to act not as allies, but as adversaries.
Advantages of effective collaboration for business
In many business companies, employees are organized into separate teams. Teamwork creates a trusting atmosphere, and moreover, it is really quite natural. People usually like to join a team where their contribution is appreciated, and all conditions are created for the realization of creative inclinations and useful work. A well-organized command structure allows one to awaken dormant sources of synergy so that the whole becomes greater than the sum of the individual pieces. The team culture of cooperation and joint contribution is not only fundamentally appealing to human nature, but also vital for creating the best possible workplace. Moreover, it is more stimulating to work this way. Over time, the best teams form a sense of belonging to a single whole.
Teamwork skills are essential in any area of business. In a good team, productive group and individual work are possible. Modern teams are different these days. They are more distributed, diverse, and technological.
Teamwork allows you to learn from each other’s mistakes. You can thereby avoid mistakes in the future, get an idea of working prospects, and learn new concepts from more experienced colleagues. Well-established communication within the team provides an spark of innovation, which in turn will create a competitive advantage to achieve goals and objectives. Separating different opinions and experiences enhances accountability and can help make effective decisions faster than when done alone. Teamwork increases productivity through fast feedback and a variety of skills needed to support your work. You can do the design, planning, and implementation phases much more efficiently when the team works collectively.
We identify below five major types of enterprise collaboration tools and platforms used today:
- communication tools (messaging & mailing, calls & video-calls, meeting planners and organizers);
- collaborative access to docs and information (Office in the cloud, Google docs, wikis & knowledge bases);
- specific data input & processing (medical records in healthcare; scientific data for researchers; logistics tracking systems; bills, accounting, and much more);
- planning & reporting tools (task boards, helpdesks, Jira, MS Project, schedules and calendars, reporting work hours, booking rooms/inventory/hardware, and others);
- e-learning and LMS (everything related to instant educations which becomes standard practice for all the tech-related industries).
From personal meetings to online video conferencing, modern technologies have made communication with employees and customers more comfortable and accessible than ever before. Every tool in communication is important, as well as the importance of their development and improvement in any business.
However, collaboration and business processes in many companies function in such a way, that certain tools cannot solve the communication problem effectively. There are many companies trying to cell collaboration tools, which are supposed to eliminate all your problems. In reality, there is no silver bullet. Each large company is a unique organism with its distinctive features, strong and weak sides. Therefore, their business processes also differ. Usually, it is impossible to deal with them with standardized instruments. To manage the unique business processes you have to create your own tools or customize the existing solutions for your needs.