by Hadley Jones
Published on 14 July 2014
How digital is your company? Before trying to answer that question, it's best to understand what 'digital' means - and therefore what a 'digital transformation' really is. 'Digital' is the use of technology to help people use information. But one PC on its own or even per person does not make a company 'digital', if there is no good digital interaction between those persons. What collaboration software can do is to link all those pockets of 'digital' and power a digital transformation.
Customers have been buying ever smarter smartphones and ever more powerful tablets. They connect when they want, where they want and can contact anyone in an organization, who has an email address, a social network ID or a webpage. Customers also expect a consistent story about what's happening in an enterprise. Anybody whose contact details are exposed to the public had better be in harmony with the rest of the company choir. This is where collaboration tools like Confluence, Exo, Redbooth, Communifire and TallyFox can help.
The mechanisms for getting everybody to sing from the same song sheet depend on the style of collaboration that you favor. Possibilities include:
All those PCs in your organization, in fact all your computing devices whether desktop or mobile, have a capacity for good or bad collaboration. Left alone without guidance, you can expect the worst - silo thinking. Think of all those spreadsheets for example. How many of them really get shared like they should? But by suitable application of collaborative apps, functionality and techniques, you can convert isolated weakness into collective strength.
| Silo Thinking (Don't Do This!) | Collaborative Fix (Do This!) | Functionality and Apps | | Fragmented thinking, misunderstanding about overall direction and priorities | A unified vision that can be discussed, refined and internalized | Real time interactive communications, blogs ( TallyFox) | | Each department sets its own goals without meshing with others, misaligned efforts between departments | Common goals that complement each other without gaps or redundancy | Real time interactive communications, forums, wikis ( Confluence) | | Work isn't understood or fun, it's something to be survived on a daily basis | Motivation and incentives that encourage employees to work well (and collaborate well) | Microblogging, video chat, gamification, intra-company social networking ( Communifire) | | Instructions are top-down without the possibility of feedback, corporate objectives fail to leverage employee potential | Collaborate and create by exchanging ideas as they happen, and developing the good ones into something great. | Microblogging, wikis, intra-company social networking ( eXo) | | Tasks are not tracked, or if they're tracked, they're not benchmarked or improved. | Measure and monitor how changes in collaboration change productivity and performance, and keep changing appropriately | Collaborative task creation, visibility and reporting ( Redbooth) |
Collaboration isn't standing still either. Collaboration app vendors know that their market and end-users are on the move too, and they continually upgrade their software with new or enhanced features. But by starting now, you'll reap the benefits sooner instead of later. Trends that may affect your company as it boards the collaboration train include:
The right digital transformation can be made to any enterprise and any organization. Collaboration tools like the ones mentioned here can be invaluable in making that transformation happen. Remember that collaboration is also a state of mind. Collaboration apps can support the appropriate company culture, but they cannot change that culture by themselves. For that reason, it's important that top management too uses the interactive communications of Communifire or the blogging from TallyFox, for example. Directors should take an active interest in the wikis in Confluence or eXo, and/or receive and actively comment on reporting from Redbooth.
Digital transformation starts one step at a time. The first one could be to check out SMB collaboration apps that can help propel your company beyond the competition, with different pricing that even includes collaboration tool free plans.