Collaborat​ion

Collaborative Technology’s Impact on the Workplace

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Collaboration has always been a critical business function; exchanging ideas, best practices and information for the benefit of company and customers alike. But with a mobile workforce scattered across the globe, holding face–to-face exchanges across a conference room table is rarely realistic. So how do organizations build a culture of collaboration and a sense of community among people who may never set foot in the same room? Thought leaders recently weighed in on the ways collaborative technologies have impacted the workplace and identified some specific, significant wins for companies who effectively leverage them.

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Increased Flexibility

The beauty of a remote workforce is the flexibility that comes with being able to work anytime, anywhere. New tools coming to market allow that same flexibility to be extended to the collaborative process, creating opportunities for team members to weigh in or comment in real time from wherever they are. As Bernie Borges, Founder/CEO of Find and Convert, says, “[Technology] really gives so much more flexibility to the employee to collaborate with co-workers anywhere, anytime.”

Improved Productivity

Increased productivity means increased revenues. When organizations effectively leverage collaboration technologies, employees are able to complete tasks faster and with greater efficiency. As Janine Truitt, CIO of Talent Think Innovations, points out, the result is a win-win situation. “When you have technology enabling productivity and things can keep moving … that’s obviously a win for the business and a win for technology.” Collaboration tools can also mitigate information overload by distilling email threads, meeting notes, conference calls and more into a single source, so an employee has the latest information and can easily pick up where he or she left off.

 Unified Workforce

The proliferation of a mobile, remote workforce has definite advantages for many organizations. The trade-off is that individual employees and work groups tend to become disconnected and, as a result, any sense of team is diminished. Online communities foster the idea that employees are working together toward a common goal, a concept Mark Babbitt, CEO and Founder of YouTern, is happy to see coming to fruition. “We’ve spent decades building up these silos and because of these new collaborative technologies we’re finally breaking them down.” Companies making this mental shift say it boosts morale, strengthens corporate culture and drives positive business results.

There’s no question that collaboration technologies have put a human face on today’s workplace. In fact, Marsha Collier, President of The Collier Company, Inc., has gone so far as to coin it “the human cloud.” “Now we’re dealing with a human cloud. It’s no longer a data cloud. We’re dealing with human beings and people.” Whether teams of employees are working on different floors or in different time zones, collaboration is as important now as it has always been. And with the right tools in place, high-functioning, productive teams will unify to achieve positive business outcomes that drive value for the organization.

 

With the right approach and supporting technology, you can do more than survive; you can thrive. Harness the extraordinary power of cloud, social and cognitive to transform the way your business engages and identify authentic engagements between the people who drive your business. Everything is possible. Discover a new way to work, with IBM Social Business.

To learn more about IBM Social Business solutions, visit IBM.com/SocialBusiness. Also, join the conversation on Twitter by using #NewWayToWork.

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