Enterprise collaboration, often called EC, is becoming less of an optional tool and more of a necessity in today’s business environment. Many companies are implementing EC to meet their goals for being agile and highly competitive. This overview will provide the insight you need to understand the potential EC offers, and the pitfalls you need to avoid.
What is enterprise collaboration?
From a technology perspective, EC refers to the systems that allow for direct communication among employees and easy access to data and information. Some of those tools include:
- Project management tools. Project management doesn’t need to be the responsibility of one person using project management software on their own computer. Collaborative project management tools now allow teams to work collaboratively to plan, coordinate, and manage complex projects.
- Communication tools. Email was a significant advancement in facilitating communication. However, it doesn’t facilitate modern collaboration very effectively. New communication tools allow teams to coordinate with each other in an environment where each team member can contribute to a single “discussion.” It eliminates the problem of sending multiple emails, often with conflicting information or opinions.
- Sharing applications. Sharing files and applications makes collaboration much easier and quicker. An entire team can update a document at the same time while chatting with other team members about the revisions.
Different vendors offer different tools within each of those categories. Be sure to work with a partner that can help you build a cohesive platform that can integrate all your favorites together.
What are the business benefits of enterprise collaboration?
The benefits offered by EC can be significant. Some of those benefits include:
Improved agility: Collaboration enhances teamwork and streamlines how things get done. As a result, the enterprise can be much more agile in terms of responding to market pressures or customer requirements.
Increased employee engagement: When employees engage with their work and their company, employee satisfaction increases and business outcomes improve. Teamwork is one of the best ways to get employees to engage.
Higher productivity: EC results in a new level of teamwork. Not only is work done more efficiently and effectively, but less time is wasted. For example, teams often need fewer meetings, and the meetings they do hold are much more productive. Increased productivity also leads to better business outcomes.
What are the EC pitfalls to avoid?
The benefits of EC can only be realized with effective planning and implementation. These are some of the EC pitfalls you may encounter.
Your organization isn’t ready for collaboration.
Managing change is always a challenge, and EC brings quite a bit of change. Employees must change how they work, and they may even end up working with different people. It’s important to prepare the enterprise for this level of change.
No one is carrying the flag.
Support needs to come from the top. Management needs to clearly communicate the business case for implementing EC and set a good example by using the tools themselves. Your enterprise will need to evolve to a “collaboration culture,” and management needs to lead the way.
You’re implementing EC as one-size-fits-all.
Every organization has different collaboration needs. In addition, those needs may be different among business units. Make sure to identify the type of collaboration tools you need, but leave room for teams to participate in defining their own environments.
How to complete a successful EC implementation
If you avoid the pitfalls, implementing EC will go much smoother. Here are some tips:
- Start by defining requirements
- Involve employees to pin down what they really need
- Define typical scenarios for using the collaboration tools to provide employees with the big picture
- Measure results and change your tactics to overcome bottlenecks and obstacles
Measuring results will point out how collaboration is improving the environment for employees and the organization. Another benefit is that you’ll identify opportunities for improvement.
Final thoughts on EC
Enterprise Collaboration isn’t a project to be taken lightly. It involves a global (and sometimes business culture) change in the way many people do their jobs and needs a collaborative landscape in which to survive and thrive.
The good news is that EC has the potential for significantly improving your organization’s ability to maintain a competitive edge and achieve long-term growth.
If you’re interested in learning more about enterprise collaboration and how it can help your enterprise scale, contact TFE. We’re happy to talk and share additional resources with you.