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Insights from the leadership at HB on technology and culture

Why Collaboration (and Collaborative Technology) Matters in Business

on October 22, 2015

Collaboration is a key component of business, but with global businesses and technology’s role in success, traditional teamwork sometimes isn’t enough.

Collaboration has always been a key component of business—a driving force behind everyday tasks, project outcomes, and tough decisions where one person can’t move the needle without other’s ideas and opinions. But with increasingly global businesses, remote and mobile workers, and technology’s role as a lynchpin for growth and success, traditional teamwork sometimes isn’t enough.

Here’s a look at some ways collaboration and IT are intimately tied to the success of your business.

How Collaboration Leads to Business Success

Collaboration is essential for any business to stay agile, competitive, and productive. The past couple of decades have seen organizations rely increasingly on their technology stack to bring employees together—primarily through platforms that make sharing information and communicating in real time both easy and affordable.
Technology doesn’t create collaboration, but it’s the backbone that enables flexibility in the workplace—and that’s turned IT from backroom problem solver into a business-critical service.

Build a culture of innovation. A collaborative work environment offers much-needed flexibility within an organization, allowing people to contribute to different teams and projects. This helps an organization leverage each individual’s expertise. It also nurtures innovation and promotes productivity by allowing people to choose where, when, and how they work.

Enhance employee satisfaction. There’s a whole generation of workers who place a high value on having the flexibility to determine their own work-life balance; enabling this agility paves the way for loyalty and retention. When work becomes location independent, employees can perform better in today’s always-on workplace and connect with their team members whenever and wherever it’s needed.

Broaden the talent pool. Using collaboration platforms, human resources can quickly and efficiently attract and retain talent from anywhere the world. When your company needs to operate 24/7, technology doesn’t just make it easier to collaborate at a distance; it also facilitates working across time zones and supporting round-the-clock productivity, both significant business advantages.

Create an environment of trust. Today’s employees expect greater autonomy in the way they work. According to a 2014 report from SHRM, trust is one of the top factors for employee satisfaction. Higher levels of workplace collaboration create a more transparent employer-employee relationship.

Collaborative Technologies are Enterprise Essentials

One thing that separates nimble startups from more established companies is their ability to use a modern technology stack from day one. Even with collaboration at the heart of your business strategy, it isn’t easy to be agile when you rely on outdated technology; newer hardware and applications help bridge the gap, but it’s getting harder to keep pace seamlessly without a full update.

Here are some must-have collaboration tools for modern businesses.

Unified Communication (UC) platforms merge things like voice calls, instant messaging (IM), audio/video/web conferencing, white boards, and email into a single application. By making these tools available through one interface, UC ensures everyone is well connected and able to operate with speed and efficiency.

Videoconferencing has cut travel costs for meetings while making face-to-face interaction much more accessible. By moving meetings from boardrooms to devices like desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets, video collaboration supports new and emerging business models by allowing employees, remote teams, and telecommuters to connect “in person” from anywhere.

Enterprise social networking tools like Yammer, Jive, and Salesforce's Chatter help teams bounce ideas, coordinate, share quick notes, and discuss opinions. These Facebook-like social platforms improve employee engagement, help embed interaction into business processes, and encourage company-wide adoption of collaborative behaviors.

Businesses need to understand and adapt to employee expectations—as well as the expectations of the marketplace. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a collaborative environment that encourages cooperation and autonomy, while ultimately boosting productivity and performance. Smart use of collaboration technologies can help companies accomplish this and become the flexible organizations they’ll need to be to thrive in the years ahead.

Image source: GetRefe