Today’s digital workplace requires new and innovative ways of working and doing business. Disruptive technologies such as mobile devices, social networking and Cloud solutions are forcing organisations to make fundamental changes to operations, with focus increasingly shifted towards people and culture. As individuals continuously move through digital spaces in their personal lives, businesses are now beginning to recognize the value of leveraging these skills for intuitive and innovative work processes. Increasingly, this is being seen in the areas of information sharing and knowledge retention. The sheer volume of information that most people deal with on a day-to-day basis means that it is simply not practical to email files back and forth or share content over applications that are ultimately out of the control of the business (e.g. Dropbox). The result is that more and more organizations are turning to innovative technology solutions that streamline internal communications. This concept is called Social or Enterprise Collaboration.
Social Collaboration tools are essentially digital environments in which each and every member of staff can share content and ideas, collaborate on group projects and ultimately, have their voice and opinions heard throughout the wider organization. Examples of such solutions include tibbr, Jive and Yammer. These tools not only serve to increase productivity and employee innovation by breaking down knowledge silos, they also improve security by ensuring all company information is retained in the one location, providing full network visibility.
Social Collaboration is designed to be intuitive. With newsfeeds resembling mainstream social networks, the look and feel are instantly recognizable for users. However, Social Collaboration solutions are much more than simple social networking tools; they are business engagement platforms that allow users to connect with and collaborate on what is specifically important to them. Rather than becoming a platform full of irrelevant noise, Social Collaboration tools can be tailored so that users spend more time working on what is applicable to them. Content is subject and department-led so that it is easily accessible and even easier to retain.
Implemented correctly, Social Collaboration tools simplify communication processes, removing the need for continuous emailing of different versions of documents, or chasing down co-workers for necessary information. The increase in workforce mobility and remote access to data has meant that communication and collaboration has become an increasing headache for most businesses. With Social Collaboration tools, users can interact with each other, store and exchange files and create and modify documents in real-time collaborative work spaces.
A Social Collaboration platform will ultimately change how an organization communicates, collaborates, shares and learns. The result is a newly focused organization with increased productivity and information flow, an empowered team and an acceleration of innovation in the workplace.
Eamon Moore is Managing Director of E-MIT Solutions, an innovative IT consultancy with over ten years’ experience in delivering professional IT services to Irish businesses. E-MIT specializes in the area of Social Collaboration and has partnered with the leading companies in this space to assist businesses with moving into this new world of communication and collaboration.