By: Angela Ashenden, Principal Analyst, MWD Advisors
Published: 17th June 2013
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
Using technology to support collaboration in business is far from a new idea – the reason email is so well-entrenched, for example, is that we’ve been using it for decades. However, historically, business collaboration generally meant a small team working together, typically in a single location. And so collaboration tools focused on simply providing a central location where information could be shared among the team, as well as including traditional features such as discussion forums. In today’s globalised business market though, teams are spread across locations, indeed often across continents and time zones. It’s not unusual for team members to have never met before, and sometimes to have never even heard of each other before joining the team. And so we are starting to look for new ways to connect our employees better – not just for the purpose of working on a specific project, but to recreate that togetherness that exists in a co-located organisation.
Social collaboration tools bring a new set of capabilities that are designed to open up the organisation and facilitate communication and awareness of what is going on around you, and they have some fundamental characteristics to support and enable collaboration:
Of course, for all the benefits they offer, social collaboration tools are not a solution in and of themselves – as I discussed in my post If you build it, will they really come?, improving collaboration is as much a cultural issue and demands a corresponding business change programme if it is to have any significant long-term impact. But without these new tools, it would be extremely difficult to achieve enterprise-wide collaboration in today’s global organisation.
(A note from the editor: This post was originally published on the AIIM community blog, where Angela posts monthly as an invited ‘Expert Blogger’.)
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