Five Steps to Collaboration Nirvana

By Bryant Duhon posted 01-17-2012 16:16


Guest post:

By Robin Daniels, Head of Enterprise Product Marketing, Box

I asked Robin to write a preview/teaser for AIIM's January 18, 2012 webinar. Be sure to join Bud Porter-Roth and Robin Daniels from Box for a deeper looking into collaboration ann the cloud.

Register today: Cloud Collaboration Strategies and Technologies. Register today:

Collaboration happens every day. You collaborate with your friends and family on Facebook (though you might not call it that), you collaborate with people at work in meetings or through email, and you collaborate with partners, suppliers, and, of course, your customers.

However, even with all the daily collaboration we partake in, most people don’t know what effective collaboration looks like. And in today’s dispersed workforce, where businesses and teams are spread out across various time zones and continents, good collaboration is paramount to success.

Here are five key factors to keep in mind for driving effective collaboration.

1.      Collaboration can happen from anywhere.

The rise of cloud computing is fundamentally changing the way we collaborate. In the past, teams had to meet in-person, connect on conference calls or work through emails. These forms of collaboration, while important, pose several limitations such as: people working on different versions of a document, leveraging old data that isn’t relevant anymore and having conflicting schedules, so unable to find the time to meet. The power of cloud technologies, however, changes all of this.  Cloud-based collaboration tools have moved far beyond email and enable you to connect anywhere at anytime on dynamic, flexible platforms.  There are plenty of tools, both free and paid, that you can use to help master effective collaboration. But do your homework before you select one – it’s easy to get wowed by the all bells and whistles – make sure you’re selecting the best solution for you and your team.

2.     Your mobile device is a gateway to collaboration.

According to a recent survey by Forrester Research, close to 40% of US information workers, used their tablet or smartphone for more than 15 minutes a day for work in 2011. With the explosion of newly available mobile computing options and the popularity of using these devices for work, employees are increasingly ‘always on,’ and instantly connected to information and documents. These devices create opportunities for better and more efficient collaboration- the convenience to collaborate is immediately increased ten-fold. And with new mobile collaboration applications being developed on a daily basis, the way teams work together is poised to change forever.

3.     Sharing should be simple.

Many companies still offer collaboration software that misses the mark in keeping it easy for you, the user. From permission issues, to browser incompatibility, to small things that unnecessarily require an IT admin to step in - if sharing information is not easy, your teams will feel discouraged and won’t participate. Most people are already busy enough and don't want to take hours out of their week to learn a complicated system. For that reason the collaboration system you use, must be simple and intuitive.

4.     Sharing should be secure.

Once you decide to put your content in the cloud, the next step is to make sure it as secure as possible. And this means selecting the right cloud collaboration vendor that can give you that assurance. You should always take an educated approach towards cloud adoption and ask tough questions to vendors in order to verify that your data is safe. Who is responsible for protecting my data? How secure is my service provider? What is the location of my data? You must trust your cloud vendor and this means choosing collaboration software that balances the ease-of-use and simplicity that drives productivity and utilization, with the strict enterprise requirements that your IT expects and needs to give them complete peace of mind. In order to achieve trust with your vendor, you must understand their security responsibilities. Expect to have contracted terms and a service level agreement (SLA) – all the documents and answers that you need in order to place a safe bet.

5.     Your collaboration should collaborate easily with others.

Traditional enterprise collaboration vendors have leaned towards closed ecosystems – locking you in and requiring you to only use the technology they offer. However, your teams are typically relying on a diverse set of applications to solve both basic and advanced business challenges, and they need these solutions to all work together. It’s important to select a vendor that doesn’t operate in isolation, but can integrate with the apps that you use every day, such as Google Apps, Yammer, NetSuite and Salesforce. This open ecosystem ultimately helps your team reach the real value of using a collaboration system – having all their important information and files at their fingertips to stay up to date and on top of the latest developments in a project.

Join Bud Porter-Roth and Robin Daniels from Box on January 18 for the AIIM Wednesday webinar: Cloud Collaboration Strategies and Technologies. Register today:

#E20 #SaaS #SocialBusiness #Collaboration #cloud