Global businesses struggle with lack of seamless and effective collaboration tools. This challenge often leads to compromised product quality, missed delivery deadlines and extra expenditure. However, McKinsey claims that organizations can improve their productivity by 20 to 30% by adopting process and networking tools!
In order to adopt more productive protocols in their teams’ collaborations, organizations must keep a close eye on the changes that are reshaping the collaborative landscape in 2019. What are these changes and how can they impact the collaborative space of big and small companies? Let’s find out.
Collaborate – anywhere, anytime but securely:
Not too long ago, collaboration was mostly conducted via intranets, which restricted it within corporate boundaries. However, with companies going multinational and teams getting increasingly dispersed, it gradually became imperative to leverage technologies that facilitated round-the-clock communication and collaboration even beyond corporate premises.
Unprecedented success of instant messaging platforms like Slack, WhatsApp, Skype, WeChat indicate that collaboration is no longer restricted by firewalls of intranet. Many employees already prefer global workplaces like Regus and WeWork. Companies too realize that their workforce often need to access and share corporate data with many people who may be internal employees or potential clients. This arrangement inevitably raises a question about the security of critical corporate data. Using a secured instant modern workplace tool instead of rigidly adhering to intranet-based collaboration in 2019 and beyond, within corporate premises can help to lessen the said security threat.
Coming to a common ground:
Enterprises today are focusing on building a more inclusive future. Microsoft has announced that it intends to adopt the Chromium open source project in the development of Microsoft Edge, which will eventually render Edge compatible with all platforms, even Apple’s MacOS. It won’t be very farfetched to hope that soon there will be a common browser platform for hundreds of collaboration tools available. This means organizations, with a mobile workforce, may soon be able to choose collaboration apps for various devices in their native forms, from a common web browser. It will hopefully boost the use of collaboration tools across teams.
Assistants are getting increasingly intelligent:
Constant technological advances, especially Natural Language Processing (NLP), are rendering conversational interfaces and intelligent assistants more impactful. Amazon’s Alexa is used by individuals to execute simple daily activities such as playing music, getting information and news updates. It is also used by businesses for setting up meetings and syncing it with the calendars of all stakeholders. Meanwhile, IBM Watson has partnered with Cisco to build Monica (now renamed as Cisco Spark Assistant) – an AI-powered bot, that is intended as a work, or team-oriented, collaboration assistant, specifically for meetings. What does that mean? So, imagine you’re late for a meeting, or are unable to connect to the device or wandering the office premise to find an accessible room, or you were unable to record the meeting or for that matter make a meeting summary. It can be detrimental. But with a tool such as Cisco Spark Assistant you have a virtual assistant which could do all of the above and more thereby increasing individual productivity.
Visuals matter, more than ever:
Today’s visual collaboration tools have eliminated the need for communicating via multiple channels for a single project. For instance, custom-designed landing pages are something that all businesses use, but developing one requires constant communication between customer, consultants, content developer, designer and digital marketer. Tools like Mezzanine (that presents a gesture-controlled UI) and Instapage (that facilitates simultaneous stakeholder work) are helping to make the experience more engaging and expedite the process.
AR and VR are here to stay:
Augmented and Virtual Reality are slowly making their presence felt in the communication and collaboration space. Intel’s RealSense and AltspaceVR have already started to offer immersive boardroom experiences with features like changing backgrounds, avatars, cataloguing body language and even robots as stand-ins for team members. Still in nascent state though, these technologies hold much potential for making collaboration more effective in near future.
With time, more tools will enter the collaboration space and make interactions simpler. What is interesting is that the focus for collaboration is slowly shifting from only internal to comprehensive. Collaboration technologies may soon be used by businesses to build stronger relationships with customers. Which technologies do you think will take up the center stage for both internal and external communication in near future? Comment below.