By Natalie Harris-Briggs, Group Marketing Director at Steljes
To achieve success, we have identified 8 principles for successful collaboration. The move to a different style of work requires integrated thinking between the three key pillars of any organisation – its people, its workplaces and its technologies.
By looking at the psychological, the physical and the virtual, a different set of behaviours can be established (such as collaborative work) with new processes supported by innovative infrastructure.
- ABW – the agile business
To adopt Activity Based Working requires a fundamental rethink of the need for and provision of workspace. It requires a detailed understanding of the workforce – by profiling and identifying discrete cohorts. Typical working days must be mapped and then a range of task based settings with appropriate enabling technologies delivered. The cost benefit is complex, but one of the clear winners will be a reduction of real estate overhead – typically by up to 30%. Microsoft, Interpolis and BT have all seen 30% cost reductions, with Macquarie Bank seeing a 23% increase in building capacity. Corporate agility will become one of the key drivers for collaboration – speed to market, speed of decision making between dispersed teams and the ability to remove downtime and make better use of expertise will all drive collaborative best practice.
- Become less physical - migrating to the cloud
Companies need to become more footloose, and virtualise their infrastructure so that the office does not represent the corporate DNA. As this moves into cyberspace, people will only come into the workplace for one reason – to be with people. And as occupancy of buildings becomes more fragmented and work disperses, people will need to collaborate and communicate across distance. The growth of the cloud will have a profound impact on collaboration. On-premise systems will migrate to a range of hybrid solutions, usually blending on-premise voice with external software so that people can connect from anywhere. Tomorrow, we believe that collaboration systems will be cloud based applications as the software is provided as a service (SaaS) to people as and when they need it.
The empty building is the logical conclusion of the journey towards cloud based computing; a building devoid of all infrastructure, software and processing power – in effect people will come into a building only to be with and work with other people. The empty building will be a collaborative space for teams, training, mentoring and socialising. It will represent the corporate brand and provide a narrative space for the business.
- Adopting digital flow
Now digital flow is set to change the rules. The previous IT revolution was essentially to turn paper digital – what you viewed on screen could then be re-output to paper and would, to all intents and purpose, look the same. No longer. Now the screen has depth with URLs and hover information that cannot be reproduced in two dimensions.
Digital flow will result in a slow death of paper and move people into the digital realm that will naturally encourage interaction and collaboration between documents being developed in on-line, real-time systems.
- Always on - the corporate jelly bean
Fluid ‘buddy’ lists will provide presence indicators to show the real time availability of people both inside and outside the corporation. Teams, be they distributed or co-located, will be visible.
The corporate jelly bean means the adoption of a strategy for converged communication and collaboration so that these applications function seamlessly across the enterprise.
- Web2.0: Defining a corporate folksonomy
Web2.0 was moving the internet from an approach based around the activities of ‘find and use’ to a concept of ‘share and expand’. Folksonomy develops these themes and advances the concept of the ‘semantic web’ to a future where collaboration can become meaningful within a corporate community.
The experience of people using applications such as social bookmarking (Del.icio.us) and social photo sharing (Flickr) shows the acceptance of tagging in the public domain. Corporates need to embrace this and start building the foundations for future collaborative systems.
A new guide to collaboration and communication etiquette is needed, together with a new language – the rules need re-writing.
A change management programme needs to be introduced to allow people to understand and identify new behaviours necessary for successful collaboration. Psychometric types suggest that it is often extroverts that dominate team sessions, while introverts find it hard to contribute. Systems for inclusive collaboration and behaviours that allow democratic participation are essential for success.