In a recent article titled “The 3 things CEOs must do to ensure effective collaboration,” I talked about the importance of having the will to collaborate, formulating a plan that makes collaboration accessible and open, and managing the entire process through active engagement.
Of course, having the right tools to enable effective collaboration is an essential part of the equation. When I say the right tools, I am referring to collaboration platforms like Flock.
For those unfamiliar with Flock, it’s like a social network for business. Don’t let the word “social” fool you. Flock is a secure platform for employees to share knowledge and solve problems together more efficiently and effectively.
In this post, I will explain what a collaboration platform is, why it is an improvement over traditional communication methods, how you can address security concerns, and the best way to set up a collaboration platform for your organization.
What’s a collaboration platform?
According to McKinsey, 93% of executives say that their organizations use some form of social or collaborative technology. Given that you’ve likely been collaborating online through the use of email, video conferencing, instant messaging and other similar tools, the McKinsey findings are not surprising. After all, these familiar tools are the predecessors to today’s next-generation collaboration platforms.
Incredibly user-friendly, these new platforms integrate with various enterprise applications to enhance communication, foster teamwork, and bring everything together within your company. Think of it as taking your organization’s communication and collaboration to a whole new level of effectiveness.
A farewell to emails
In the Harvard Business Review article titled “What Managers Need to Know About Social Tools,” Paul Leonardi and Tsedal Neeley share the following story of how collaboration platforms can facilitate greater learning.
Reagan, an IT technician at a research facility, was trying to solve a difficult service issue. Because her company had a centralized collaboration platform with search capability, she was able to follow the discussion between two fellow technicians dealing with the same problem. Based on insights from that discussion, she was able to resolve her issue much faster than she would have if she were relying solely on traditional tools like email.
Before social platforms, Reagan would not have been privy to such a discussion in a siloed, one-off email exchange. This example is why many industry pundits believe that collaboration platforms will eventually replace email as the default channel of written communication at work.
Securing your conversations
There is no shortage of articles on the benefits of collaboration tools. However, one area that doesn’t get as much attention is the security of these platforms.
Secure collaboration platforms such as Google’s G Suite, Slack, and Flock, as industry watchers suggest, are becoming the “system of record” in many organizations.
Besides helping to make lives better at work, their inherent security benefits including data redundancies and encryption are big selling features. These benefits are why many organizations are beginning to migrate all work conversations away from a fundamentally less secure medium like text messaging.
Where to start
Are you ready to take the next step? As you consider switching to a collaboration platform, here are a few suggestions:
- Tap into your network for trusted, real-world reviews. Talk to fellow executives about their organization’s experiences with collaboration technology.
- Engage your employee base for their insights and experiences. Besides gaining important feedback, you are making them part of the process. Isn’t that what collaboration is all about?
- Be strategic during implementation. When introducing new technology into an organization, a big bang approach hardly works. Instead, implement it in a successive series of smaller, strategic initiatives, and build on that success.
Finally, when it comes to internal collaboration platforms remember the following words of Arthur Cole...
“Collaboration is more than just a new productivity tool, however. It alters the way in which knowledge workers interact with each other and the data around them, and this will impact long-standing processes and perhaps the corporate culture itself.”
A two-time Ottawa finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Jon Hansen has written nearly 3,000 articles and papers, as well as 5 books on subjects as diverse as supply chain practice, public sector policy, emerging business trends, and social media.