01 May 2012

Better business through collaboration

When it comes to unlocking organisational potential, effective collaboration between people and teams is pivotal. Unfortunately, it’s not something that’s automatic. Indeed, the bigger your organisation, the higher the barriers (or ‘silos’) can be. At the heart of collaboration, of course, is communication – and together the two can have significant benefits. From decision making through to speed to market and customer service, the better staff are able to collaborate and combine their skills and know how, the better the results. Collaboration technologies Exactly what businesses can achieve through collaboration is to a large degree governed by the technology that’s in place to guide it. Here are a few technologies to take advantage of: Intranet A good intranet solution can be a great catalyst for collaboration, and intranet platforms are becoming increasingly useful as work is performed across different offices or at different times. In order to function effectively, an intranet must be fast and attractive, with the ability to manage documents, workflows and tasks. As a means of connecting people and teams to share information and complete projects, they’re at the top of the tree. Unified Communications Open lines of communication are  vital for good collaboration, and many organisations have found Unified Communications platforms to be a game changer. Features such as instant messaging, presence reporting, call queues and drag-and-drop transfers make business communications not only more efficient, (by eliminating missed connections) but also more effective (by offering a wide choice of mediums). Previously the reserve of big corporates, many mid-sized businesses are now seeing big benefits from Unified Communications, especially where communications with customers or clients are involved. Video Conferencing If you have offices interstate or staff who sometimes work from home, then a video conferencing solution will be a powerful collaboration enabler. While Skype can get by in some circumstances, a professional solution will deliver better sound and picture quality, increased security, more advanced conferencing features and ease of use. By wasting less time on the road or in the air (while saving on airfares, hotels and taxis) staff will also be available to collaborate for longer, increasing productivity, and ultimately benefiting the environment. Be sure to read the Youi case study in this newsletter to see how the insurer is putting video conferencing to very effective use across their business. Summing up Collaboration has the power to make a business much more than the sum of its parts. To get the most from staff and resources, ensure that the technology you have in place makes working together as simple and convenient as possible, while also opening the lines of communication.