Sponsored You hear a lot about collaborative work these days. Organizations talk about “connecting the workforce” in an “efficient” and “successful” way. A brave new world of 24-7 global operations.
But for many it just isn’t happening. The idea of a workspace that brings people, tools, content and conversations together, laying the foundation for a collaborative culture, is largely that: an idea.
In reality, our environments are anything but collaborative. We have a proliferation of proprietary desktop applications that do not communicate with each other, are not designed for the types of mobile devices that are used on a daily basis, and most importantly, are not fit for purpose in business roles.
This lack of collaboration is a problem that becomes more complicated as our way of working changes. “The average knowledge worker spends about six minutes per day on each application, which significantly impacts focused work with workers who take up to 25 minutes a day on the transition between applications,” explains Andrea Trapp, director of Dropbox Sales EMEA . This surplus of applications also fragments the user’s workday, acting as an obstacle to productivity and resulting in hidden costs for the business.
It is a disaster, and it is holding back business. According to Vanson Bourne’s Dropbox survey of The State of Collaboration, 84% of IT and business leaders believe that the success of their organization depends on reinventing the way teams collaborate both internally and externally.
How do we solve the problem?
From an IT department perspective, surely, the simple answer seems to be to reduce the number of applications and take a single vendor approach. But forcing your designer to award your preferred creative set for an equivalent package, as it suits an IT global business decision about collaboration, is likely to make them as productive as they are happy – that is, not much.
Users, not IT, are driving the choice of apps, and their choices don’t always fit neatly into the world of corporate IT shopping and support. It can be something used at home, that is relatively specific, or that is suitable for a particular team only at a particular time. Ultimately, it all comes down to one thing: As you approach your software stack, IT must be open to open.
Andy Wilson, director of media industry at Dropbox, says: “The most important thing for any organization to make changes to its collaborative work model is to get people to do their jobs better, in the tools they know and love, and to help improve your productivity If you can achieve those three points, that will be the success of any organization’s collaboration strategy. “
Is less really better?
It’s tempting, if you consolidate applications, shrink your providers, and potentially land on just one. However, by following the single vendor route, you could add barriers and future costs. You risk locking yourself in on that provider’s roadmap, which may not deliver what you need until the provider is ready and tied to a proprietary standard, stuck with a limited list of supported applications. All this, plus support and license costs that could be more expensive in the long term.
Open to open means selecting the right applications for the team and the task. “If you use Dropbox, you can start and create an Office 365 document or a sheet, slide or Google document from Dropbox and you can use the editors that have those apps, but it is actually inside Dropbox. And then you can connect your tools like Slack or Zoom, “says Wilson,” so you can start a Zoom conversation from Dropbox and extract the content you’ve created in Office 365 at that Zoom meeting. ” This is the case for more than 200,000 partner applications.
This desire to simplify the IT stack by not allowing a large number of applications has made creating a more collaborative work culture and platform somewhat problematic. It has, therefore, a reduced consumption. “One of the biggest hurdles we see is IT leaders and governance and control teams, and their need to check every government box, for every eventuality, for anything that may happen, regardless of the probability,” says Trapp. .
Trapp goes on to warn that box ticking is likely to end badly: “If all you care about is ticking a full load of governance boxes, you may have a perfectly controlled environment, but if your teams are not using it and are using their own applications under the radar, then there really is no control at all. “
Balanced approach: how can a connected workspace help?
Creating a successful connected workspace means allowing your users to move forward with the applications they already use, on the devices they already have, and where they currently work. Trapp advocates a balanced approach of what should and should not be used, allowing users to have their cloud-based tools well designed, yet still providing the governance, security and compliance that IT teams need. What are the steps to move to collaboration? Dropbox has identified an eight-step process to help:
Step one is to identify the business objectives, that is, why are we doing this? What do we want to get out of it? Will the business improve? Second step is to understand the workflows and tools the team uses, that is, how do they use those tools? What support do they need? Will that migrate? Step three it is about evaluating the current technology in the entire portfolio of tools used in the business. Step four You are evaluating the business impact and the types of ROI you can get from having a connected workspace, such as increased productivity and time savings. Step five it is about ensuring the acceptance of staff and decision-makers. Step six It is focused on establishing the working group that will implement this in the business.
Wilson recommends that this be a working group made up of people from across the organization, not just IT, and that the company choose the right champions to drive it, to encourage the correct behavior of new users. Getting people together is the catalyst for collaborative success. 93 percent of respondents at The State of Collaboration who have attempted to improve collaborative work said they still experience barriers such as culture change and employee attitudes.
Seven steps and eight focus on measuring and monitoring, reviewing how people work to make sure the business continually improves the way its employees are collaborating. However, “the metrics you choose will likely vary from company to company. Ideally, you should choose something that can help drive business, ”says Trapp.
Collaborative work can create real benefits in any organization, most of us understand it, but when it comes to manifesting that idea, success is not a simple case of “build it and they will come.” The secret is in the name: collaboration. That means winning the hearts and minds of your users is as important as choosing and working with the right application and IT stack. So instead of passing the project on to you, start looking outside the department; open up to be open and start collaborating now.
Sponsored by Dropbox.