Biz Tips: How Digital Technology Can Support Teamwork and Collaboration

Biz Tips: How Digital Technology Can Support Teamwork and Collaboration

Biz Tip:

How Digital Technology Can Support Teamwork and Collaboration

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Social networks and messaging apps have contributed to a workplace culture of collaboration. Business leaders and senior managers are sold on the need for technology that supports teamwork, with a survey finding that “77 percent of decision makers are using such technologies, and 82 percent of businesses that use collaboration tools want to use even more in the future.”

And there’s no shortage of off-the-shelf collaborative solutions. From simple messaging platforms, such as Slack Chatter, Yammer and Jive, to gamification tools and custom-built systems that can integrate with a whole host of corporate tools and platforms.

Encouraging collaboration in your workplace

New technology only works when it is embedded into, or changes and improves how individuals and teams work. In the insurance sector, for example, underwriters can process cases faster when they’ve got access to a collaborative platform for knowledge sharing and best practice. Instead of waiting for answers to more complex queries, they can solve problems between themselves and contribute to the companies’ knowledge-base.

Sharing ideas proved valuable in CEMEX’s alternative fuels program, when employees used an online platform to share ideas and experiences. This collaborative effort reduced CO2 emissions by 1.8 million metric tons per year, saving the company more than $140 million while earning $80 million in sales of CO2 credits.

At GE Aviation, sales teams used online platforms were able to cut a week’s work down to minutes. Sharing ideas and documents improves productivity and profitability.

In smaller companies, sharing is natural. People in the same building can talk more often. Colleagues email, call and send messages and texts. In larger companies, when there are teams spread around, offices abroad and whole divisions that have nothing to do with one another, the need to find ways to collaborate and share best practices becomes a challenge. Hence the growth in tools and platforms that facilitate working together.

How to embed collaboration in your company

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To start with, look at how teams operate and work together. Investigate the following:

  • Are there workflows where colleagues often need to ask for help from managers and each other?
  • How can this process be improved and are there systems in place to support enhanced collaboration?
  • Have you already tried to deploy collaborative tools and processes? If yes, why aren’t people using them?

If you’ve already tried to roll-out collaborative tools, take a look at why they’re not popular. Often, employees find ways around corporate system, such as using social messaging platforms or they continue to use email, which is inefficient and doesn’t allow for sharing knowledge easily across whole teams.

Collaborative working starts with finding ways to support existing processes. Only then you can use technology to improve them, generate new workflows, new efficiencies and processes. With custom-built social sharing platforms, your teams can have all of the features and services they need without the difficulty of tailoring an off-the-shelf system to your organisations needs.

Custom-built systems integrate with other software more easily. So if your technology stack involves a combination of legacy software and SaaS, you don’t need to worry about tricky integrations. Depending on what your teams need, software they’re using as part of their workflow can be integrated with collaborative tools, making it easier to share knowledge and project tasks.

As many large companies are already discovering, once teams are working together more effectively it starts to make a noticeable contribution to productivity and profitability.

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