Digital Collaboration – A New Digital Currency
Really… A Digital Currency?
Employee experience and their productivity directly impacts business outcomes of an organization. It’s imperative in that case to ensure that the experience and productivity of employees don’t get compromised irrespective of the location where an employee is working from, device an employee is using or the set of applications that they need to deal with. An important method to ensure this is to devise and implement an effective digital collaboration strategy.
Digital collaboration is not just about onboarding certain set of tools. It is about empowering users and teams. It is about amplifying culture and communications, balancing productivity and work life, enhancing productivity via a fewer number of clicks and accelerating the knowledge base.
Source : Microsoft
A successful adoption of digital collaboration guarantees followings to an organization;
Fulfilment of purpose, keeps teams focused, fulfilled, and aligned on achieving their objectives.
Sense of belongingness, fosters a sense of belonging and helps team members work together as a unit.
Awareness and inclusion, enables teams to navigate interpersonal dynamics and value everyone’s perspective.
Ideation & Incubation,Encourages interpersonal risk-taking in teams. Serves as a generative force for new ideas, driving better outcomes.
Planning – A Key Ingredient
Fostering right kind of employee engagement is the goal. It requires an organization to overhaul the way end users collaborate at work. This makes the nature of such transformation very critical for an organization. Which is why a solid planning is totally essential to realize a truly collaborative and hybrid workplace. Some of the key ingredients of such planning are;
Know your organization & its employees, very important to strategize and implement digital collaboration per your industry vertical needs. Knowing users help us define personas. Eventually, leading to the benefits of personalized experience and specific productivity-based workflows.,/p>
One Size Doesn't Fit All, the architecture (end state and intermediate ones) needs to accommodate different collaboration styles.,/p>
Tools Built for Next Generation, don’t try to re-purpose legacy tools until and unless there is critical dependency. Doesn’t help! Staying emotionally attached to a tool doesn’t help. Smart organizations don’t prefer investing in re-purposing a legacy tool (on premise servers moved to cloud for example) for such a large transformation.
Clearly Defined Goals & Responsibilities, Guarantees success of such a large transformation. The scope of transformation is so big that it naturally ends up having multiple risk items. A balanced team having representation from different business units and support functions like IT, procurement etc is very helpful to neutralize many of these risk items.
Adoption, Adoption & Adoption, can’t stress on the importance of it any further. Such transformations bring in change at every layer. Requires meticulously planned adoption strategy to ensure users get along with the outcomes.
Successful Pilot, before you scale it up in production.
So, What’s That Ideal End State?
Shall we choose “one” platform to meet requirements or more than one? Important question! Let’s understand what are those requirements before we seek an answer to this question. Ideally, the solution;
• Keeps Everyone Connected
• Makes it easy for people to contribute
• Helps enhancing team spirit
• Delivers personalized and actionable insights
• Helps quantifying the impact of work on people and business
• Helps with insight to improve work life balance
• Provides platform to co-author
• Organizes data into a knowledge base
• Allows us to interact with business and support workflows without changing user interface
These are some of the expectations I have from digital collaboration space. Can we rely on just one platform to meet all these requirements? May be, yes. May be, no! It depends. Many of the large enterprises, I work with, prefer having combination of tools to realize this vision. While some of the organization prefer consolidating all these services on a single platform (Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace).
Practically speaking, consolidation remains a distant dream for large enterprises due to adoption of tools like WebEx, Zoom etc by business units.
Democratization in Selecting a Platform
In general, life cycle (procurement to support) of voice or meeting solution was done by the IT teams. That’s not the case anymore. Business units within an organization prefer selecting a tool or platform that suits their requirement. In this case, IT is left with a situation to stitch these platforms together.
Stitch’em to Interop!
Yes, stitch them all to interop. 😊 Collaboration tools or products not talking to each other create inconveniences at several layers. I prefer ensuring interoperability at four layers.
Chat & Content – It helps to be able to send chat or files from one platform to another. Thankfully, there are third party products to support it.
Calling – Let the SBCs talk to each other & devise a central or global dial plan to enable smart routing. This is to avoid calls going to the service providers, thus, incurring additional cost.
Meeting – The most famous module of interop. It is ideally achieved using a tool or add-ons like Pexip, Cisco CVI, Poly Realconnect, Bluejeans etc.
User Interface – Through application integration. E.g, integrate WebEx or Zoom in Microsoft Teams interface. It makes it easier for users to leverage different tools using single user interface.
Source: Graham Walsh
Raising Up the Game – Continuity!
Implementation of a successful digital collaboration strategy doesn’t end with a completion of a project. It’s an ongoing process rather. An organization needs to have a continuous improvement plan in place. A traditional model of L1, L2 and L3 resources isn’t enough. You need a mature DevOps framework in place to realize benefits of tremendous platforms like Microsoft 365 (MS Teams), Google Workspace, WebEx, Zoom etc. There is a lot of benefits of having a dedicated team to keep onboarding business and support workflows into the user interface of collaboration tools.
Source : Cisco