Does your company embrace and dedicate resources to enterprise collaboration? Here’s why this concept is shaping the modern workplace and how your company can succeed.
The way enterprise businesses stay connected internally and externally is continuing to evolve and becoming more digital, thanks to fast developments in technology.
But besides that, the modern workplace is shifting. Workers expect more openness, collaboration, technology (mobile-first, cloud, etc.), content consumption, and flexibility with how they stay connected.
These expectations on how employees work together is changing the way businesses operate.
This is where enterprise collaboration becomes essential and why more companies are focused on resources and solutions devoted to this area.
You may have heard of this term before or maybe your company is already focused on enterprise collaboration without really calling it that. Either way, this post will dive into all you need to know.
- What is Enterprise Collaboration? Internal & External
- Tips for Effective Enterprise Collaboration Strategy
- Enterprise Collaboration Tool Examples
What is Enterprise Collaboration?
Enterprise collaboration can be defined as a system used for communication in the workplace to increase knowledge sharing, information gathering, and the ability for employees to work together on projects, no matter their location.
This can all be done through a collaboration platform, social networking tools, your corporate intranet, and via the web.
While making it easier for your workforce to work together is key, enterprise collaboration helps everyone accomplish their jobs more efficiently, increasing business growth and output.
A snippet of enterprise collaboration ROI:
- Higher productivity among workers and departments
- Less costly mistakes and miscommunication
- Better informed and knowledgeable employees
- Increased engagement levels
Yet, we can also breakdown enterprise collaboration in two parts: internal and external.
Internal Enterprise Collaboration
This happens within your company, which is the workplace.
How are employees working together to accomplish job tasks?
Internal enterprise collaboration is key to efficiency within the workplace, getting employees more informed and connected, and ensuring communication between everyone is accessible.
Typically, this is the main driver of your enterprise collaboration.
External Enterprise Collaboration
While we only tend to think of how internally collaboration works, there are external components as well. External enterprise collaboration can happen on social media among employees, brands, and consumers.
Typically called enterprise social networking this is where employee social networking is encouraged and used to help grow the business. Social media allows brands to tap into larger markets and get valuable insights into customers and prospects.
Related: Learn how Electronic Arts used EveryoneSocial to drive enterprise collaboration among their global teams and build company culture through social media. Download your case study.
External collaboration can also take place between companies. Companies can collaborate with each other to bring advanced products or services to market to save money or to get out to the masses much quicker.
Tips for Effective Enterprise Collaboration Strategy
Creating an effective enterprise collaboration strategy can be a daunting task, especially if the process is new or you are introducing a new technology platform(s).
It will be critical to ensure employees fully embrace the new collaboration strategy and any technology platform(s) behind it.
While a great strategy can take time, here are some tips for addressing the processes and technologies that enable enterprise collaboration.
Ask: Is Our Company Ready for Enterprise Collaboration?
This primarily relates to your workplace culture, how employees view the company, leadership, and their work environments.
Your company should be encouraging knowledge sharing among departments and working together for the greater good of the business and growth of employees.
An enterprise collaboration strategy with technology won’t work well or gain much support, if your corporate culture is not ready.
Having Clear Goals & Processes
Your company needs to clearly define why enterprise collaboration matters. What business problems can it address? How can the company and employees benefit?
Additionally, your company will need to create a plan and process, then stick to the plan.
Old habits can come back quickly with weak plans. Management and executives need to stick to the processes and be held accountable.
On the executive side, you need your managers to trust their employees and consistently participate in their work. Trust goes a long way into building a great company culture too.
Implementing the Right Technology
Pending your company goals, objectives, and processes, there will be certain technologies you may need to streamline your strategy.
This doesn’t mean you need every form of tech, just because other companies in your space are doing so. Sure, there can be overlapping needs, but you don’t want to waste time and money on the wrong tools.
Besides enhancing your goals, any technology should be easy to use and integrate with your existing tech stack.
Voice, text, video, social are all key elements to enterprise collaboration. We’ll cover more on some systems and tools in the next section.
Educate Employees On the “Why” and “How”
Employees need to understand the importance of collaboration, information sharing, and your company goals for this.
The employee buy-in factor on goals and any enterprise collaboration systems will be important for the success or failure of adoption. Employees need to see how it helps their everyday work, whether to boost productivity, save time, etc.
Additionally, your team will need training regarding any new, required technology, so they become consistent and well-versed users.
Change is never easy for enterprise roll-out, which is why education, training, and benefits to employees work lives matter so much. Keep important information in the chosen tech, use incentives, find ways to ensure adoption continues.
Continue to Measure Results
Like any process or strategy, you’ll want to ensure what you are doing is effective for the business. Yet, it’s not necessarily the easiest measurement when it comes to enterprise collaboration.
But, by looking at the adoption of your technologies and recurring use, you can get some good insights that employees are actively using it. However, that’s only a piece.
Your company should also track that previous gaps in communication are getting smaller, teams are collaborating more, and information knowledge is growing among teams.
Enterprise Collaboration Systems & Tools
There are plenty of enterprise collaboration systems and tools that your business can choose to adopt in the workplace. Pending what your goals and needs are for your business, some tools will be essential where others will not.
Too many systems can cause a lack of adoption, frustration, and waste time and money. Yet, not having the right ones can also have a similar effect.
Luckily, most technologies integrate with one another and many accomplish multiple things.
Let’s examine a few examples of tools used for enterprise collaboration.
By now you probably use or at least heard of Slack, an instant messaging collaboration tool used by many workplaces.
This product is used to keep teams connected no matter location with instant messaging, instead of through email.
Slack has tons of features like group threads for specific teams or reasons, search to easily find past conversations, file sharing, video and call capabilities, and tons of integrations.
There are plenty of project management tools out there, but these are also perfect additions for enterprise collaboration.
Asana is a popular task and project management tool (and one I’ve used often) to keeps project workflows moving. Besides assigning tasks and managing your projects, you have a feed on project statuses.
Employees and team leaders can see due dates, comments, feedback, and collaborate on any necessary work that needs to be done. You can also save or archive completed projects to look back and see what work or what didn’t.
McKinsey estimates $900 million – 1.3 Trillion in business value is unlocked through social networking tools and technologies.
Social enterprise collaboration is growing, but we could similarly call this employee advocacy.
This allows employees access to all the great company content, industry news, job hiring info, personal interest content, while communicating and sharing information among each other.
Yet, employees can also share that content with their social networks through the desktop platform or mobile apps, creating a powerful brand reach, while also building trust among their professional peers.
Many individual departments use EveryoneSocial for the above and other various needs.
But companies are also now rolling EveryoneSocial out enterprise-wide to keep the entire organization informed and collaborating.
Google Docs brings any of your documents to life with simple, yet smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs. Your team can work together at the same time, no matter where.
But we all know Google and probably have used Google Docs or Google Sheets in someway. Yet, their free collaborative tools are perfect to work together in real time.
Whether that is putting content together, a new strategy, data, charts, etc.
Other smart features like “comment” option let editors highlight phrases to easily leave feedback. Or the “suggesting,” option makes it simple for team members to suggest changes to the text that the author can review and accept or deny.
It’s become the go-to source for organizing documents and working on ideas collaboratively.
Enterprise collaboration has probably always been important to businesses, but now more than ever.
With the rapid growth in technology to make communication, interaction, and productivity more streamlined, your company needs to spend much more time in this area.
The above should give you insights into why it’s shaping the modern workplace, tips on a successful enterprise collaboration strategy, and some examples of useful tools.
Positive company collaboration where executives, leaders, and employees are all on the same page, yields not only business growth but also professional development for the entire organization.