Collaboration is Crucial – and Can Be Confusing
By Karen J. Bannan
Nearly all business leaders think collaboration is either crucial or very important, but more than half – 54% — say that the rapid convergence of collaboration and social tolls is also very confusing, according to a new study by non-profit research and education group AIIM, which serves the information management community.
According to the March 2014 study, Content Collaboration and Processing in a Cloud and Mobile World, there are several key drivers to improve collaboration, with the top three being improving general productivity, pooling the knowledge base that exists in the business and pulling together a geographically distributed workforce. Other important drivers include faster review processes, agreement and sign off on projects and faster and better response to customers. Unfortunately, however, the same respondents who acknowledge how useful collaboration is also say they lack technical support for their collaboration strategies – especially for external collaboration, with 71 percent of respondents reporting gaps in support. The worst part: Nearly 40 percent said that support is “poor.”
This may be because, for many organizations, collaboration systems have been implemented in a piecemeal fashion. The majority (36%) of those surveyed said they have several different systems in use with some overlap of capabilities, with less than 20 percent saying they have a single system in place. More than 15 percent said that different groups within their businesses adopted different systems. Still, with nearly 90 percent of all respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing with the assertion that a “formal collaboration system is a vital piece of infrastructure these days,” information management professionals need to get a handle on their own strategies. This is supported by another statement – “to be competitive, we have to get better at collaborating” – which garnered more than 80 percent of respondents who agreed or strongly agreed.
So what can organizations take away from this report? It’s clear that collaboration is not just nice to have, it’s imperative to the way business gets done. Every company should be thinking about their collaboration tools and implementations and reaching out to the lines of business to see if those offerings are meeting current needs. In addition, they should be asking about how end users feel about support since – if they are unhappy – they may go out and serve themselves, something that may undermine a company’s security, cohesiveness and success.