CollaborationThe opportunity collaboration presents to enterprises is huge and we can measure this opportunity by looking at the current tools we use everyday to collaborate such as email. Today this trusted yet very linear way of communicating is still the most successfully deployed collaboration platform on the planet. In fact, a staggering 182.9 billion emails are sent/received per day worldwide and that’s a number that’s growing and growing.

Adding to this world of “email-overload”, today’s digital workforce are more tech-savvy than ever and constantly turning to new applications as a way to work more effectively with others to discuss their ideas and projects, and close off tasks faster. An infographic by Yahoo shows that on average users have 95 apps installed on their phones, 35 of which are used each day.

Many of these new found ways of working have been influenced by the consumer-grade applications we’ve become accustomed to in our personal lives, meaning that IT groups now need to work to meet users needs, rather than dictating what technology can be used in the workplace.

Why IT should adopt a Millennial mindset

With Millennials expected to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2030, enterprises and IT groups should be looking at consumer tech trends and anticipating how these will impact the way their users will want to work. The findings of the Future Workplace Multiple Generations @ Work Survey of 1,189 knowledge workers and 150 managers found that Millennials prefer using the latest social technologies and innovation platforms to communicate and collaborate on-the-job. Millennials value the opportunity to share their ideas and creativity at work. This is so much so that the ability of an employer to provide on-going opportunities to share openly and collaborate came up as the fourth most frequently mentioned criteria for seeking a best of breed employer after; workplace flexibility, compensation and career progression.

This demand to work collaboratively highlights the opportunity for enterprises to move away from linear communications to something that’s more holistic and flexible when working with groups, i.e. project focused or group focused.

Enterprise collaboration platforms will and already are playing a major role in providing this central workspace for capturing conversations and feedback relating to projects or documents. Such tools provide valuable context by enabling teams and external parties to upload documents for review; facilitate and track all edits, changes, and versions; and easily view or participate in all conversations relating to the project or file.

The future is contextual collaboration

In reality however, research shows that 72% of employees share files via email or consumer-grade applications such as Dropbox, creating siloed information across many parts of the organization. With no suitable alternative available from their IT group, many employees struggle to maintain complete visibility and control over the content they create and manage and as result, the projects they work on or lead.

Research by AIIM revealed that 89% of executives said a formal collaboration system is a vital piece of infrastructure. Yet, the majority (54%) find the rapid convergence of collaboration and social tools ‘very confusing’.

The future of collaboration rests on organizations seeking applications that are easy to use and designed for the enterprise. For businesses that operate in markets which rely on complete accuracy of information such as legal, financial and pharmaceutical, implementing an enterprise collaboration application will no longer be a nice to have but a necessity.

While breaking down silos and adding real-time context, the true benefits of enterprise collaboration applications for businesses will be increasing the speed and quality of those activities that cannot be automated. The companies that achieve this and in result, gain more from their most valued employees, will no doubt challenge the industries they’re in and in many cases raise the bar.

Watch our ‘Collaboration in the Enterprise’ video to hear more on how to take collaboration to the next level.

Barrie Hadfield