Rich collaboration is vital for a setup in which multiple people work towards the same goal. For example, in an enterprise, seamless product delivery is impossible unless cross-functional teams efficiently collaborate. With teams spread across geographies, meaningful and timely collaboration becomes even more crucial. The fastest and easiest means to enhance collaboration in a setup like this is to make information exchange easier. When information is shared in time and in a format understood by everyone, collaboration automatically results as a by-product of the process. Couple of decades back, no one had even imagined that real-time, rich collaboration was possible in a global enterprise setup spread across geographies. But now, with new age integration solutions in place, large-scale rich collaboration is not just a possibility, but a reality.
The 3 Stages of Enterprise Collaboration Evolution
Collaboration 1.0: Human-Human Communication
With arrival of e-mails and Instant Messengers (IMs), enterprises for the first time realized the impact technology can make over cross-team collaboration. But with ever expanding teams and increasing complexity of enterprise ecosystems, e-mails and IMs didn’t suffice the needs for long.
- Emails crumbled as there was no guarantee that they will be read in time and be correctly comprehended by everyone.
- IMs failed as there was no mechanism provided in them to record and track conversations.
Issues such as lack of clarity, operational silos, and dependency on manual communication emerged despite email & IM conversations, and forced enterprises to move away from this setup and give way to what we call “Collaboration 2.0: Human-system communication”.
Collaboration 2.0: Human-System Communication
Collaboration 2.0 was built around human-system interaction, task management, and document sharing. The arrival of cloud sharing exponentially enhanced the quality and reliability of this setup. But issues such as operational silos and mis-interpretation of information still went unaddressed. With time, due to technological advancements, cross-functional teams moved to systems most optimal for their roles. This advancement brought in more challenges such as systems incompatibility and limitations in accessing data in a universally useful format. At this stage, going back to a single system for the sake of collaboration and at the cost of productivity & quality was no longer an option and that is what led to the evolution of systemic collaboration, “Collaboration 3.0”.
Collaboration 3.0: System-System Communication
Systemic collaboration has evolved as the most efficient technique for geo-distributed, cross-functional teams to collaborate. By making the systems talk, possibilities of manually-induced errors, delays, and possibilities of mis-communication and mis-interpretation are eliminated. Systemic collaboration also makes decision making simpler.
- Teams have real-time visibility into all important information, updates, and requirements from their native systems itself.
- All individuals and teams in this set up are equipped with one source of truth that drives their decisions.
- Teams no longer spend time syncing-up information, prioritizing tasks, defining agreeable timelines, and clarifying confusions, and can, therefore, focus on building great solutions and experiences.
RIGHT INTEGRATION SOLUTION is the key to efficient systemic collaboration
The success of systemic collaboration depends greatly on the integration solution chosen to unify the ecosystem. A badly designed minimal viable product (MVP) or a poor integration plug-in can in fact mess up the ecosystem, processes, and data in unexpected ways. Therefore, enterprises must be very vigilant while choosing an integration solution. A good integration solution doesn’t only bind the enterprise ecosystem, but also leverages the functional richness of the individual systems to enhance the overall productivity. To learn more about the features enterprises must consider when buying an integration solution, please read the whitepaper, 7 Key Features In An Enterprise-Class Integration Solution.