Global expansion and an increasingly remote workforce has prompted many businesses to evaluate how they can better enable enterprise collaboration among employees.
But with so many cultural differences, competing projects and the need for fully robust products delivered at an expedited pace, facilitating mature collaboration has become vital to business growth.
It’s easy to view collaboration as simply enhanced communication. While this is the first and most basic step, however, it involves much, much more.
for example, found that challenges also include clear division of responsibility, the need for a shared workflow and setting regular check-ins among all involved parties.
“Accountability to complete tasks and make it to meetings is what all great teams need. If you can keep everyone focused, organized and communicating what they need to do, you will get your projects done on time,” according to one survey respondent.*
Mature collaboration services for enterprise projects often requires using different processes and technologies to develop protocols employees can use to effectively work together regardless of if they are all in a conference room or spread across the world.
Organizations can drive toward collaboration maturity through the following four steps the “Collaboration Maturity Model,” as depicted in the image below:
Step 1: Communication
Communication is the most basic form of collaboration, but it’s critical in each step of mature collaboration.
Organizations must first designate specific tools they want teams to use when they collaborate on aspects of each project. Communication tools are the first step of mature collaboration because they offer avenues to talk about project member capabilities, home and work culture, tasks to be completed and more.
Communication tools can include email, phone and conferencing technologies as well as data-sharing or collaboration technologies. But organizations also must offer best practices for the use of such tools. Best practices can help employees, for instance, determine how document changes should be tracked or ensure proper nomenclature of file naming, thus enabling more effective communication.
Step 2: Sharing
When project members graduate from openly communicating to sharing the new information they are creating, they have reached the second level of mature collaboration. Again, this can be accomplished using email or other data-sharing technologies.
Being able to effectively communicate and share SOWs, designs, marketing materials, etc., is a key facilitator of successful projects. In fact, many organizations will say they are truly “collaborating” when they are able to communicate and share effectively among project members.
While projects can get completed with just these activities in place, there’s still often gaps in the enterprise collaboration process. Team members may have been confused on individual responsibilities and deadlines,
Step 3: Assigning tasks
Organizations that realize such gaps exist in their processes and begin to strategically assign and share tasks and their requirements among project members have reached the third step of mature collaboration.
When done in a separate environment such as via a data-sharing or collaboration technology, task assignment can be isolated from other distractions such as a clogged email box. Further, it enables all members of the team—no matter their location—to always access the latest version of project tasks and assignments.
Organizations also should offer best practices for using such technologies for task assignments to ensure project members are able to genuinely communicate this new information among each other.
Step 4: Tracking
The fourth and final step of mature collaboration involves tracking each project task and other types of items such as goals, deliverables, issues, risks, test and changes through to some completion or end state. This involves enabling reporting and feedback on each task to ensure it continues to be aligned to the overall project goal.
Collaboration technologies are the best tool for tracking because they enable all project members to access and comment on each document and task. There are a variety of on-premise and cloud technologies organizations can deploy or use more strategically for tracking, as well as the other steps in mature collaboration, including Microsoft SharePoint.
It’s also key for participants to keep such tools updated with the latest versions of documents and tasks and ensure all team members can and are accessing them.
If your organization hasn’t yet reached all four of these steps, or doesn’t have access to tools to facilitate mature collaboration, you are missing the opportunity to drive highly efficient projects and deliver quality products in a timely manner.
Emtec’s collaboration services can help your organization better communicate, share, assign and track project tasks in an effort to improve internal process and achieve growth goals at a reasonable cost. Contact us today to discuss your collaboration needs.