9 May 2014

Real-time collaboration tips for communications nirvana

Source: Tata Communications. Bartolo.
Today’s employee is expected to leverage on information to be more productive and make better decisions, but the sheer volume of information available and the lack of tools which can easily locate and make use of that information are twin challenges that need to be addressed, says Anthony Bartolo, Senior Vice President, Unified Communications & Collaboration, Tata Communications.

“While enterprises don’t lack tools for communication, very often, the problem is fragmentation at the level of the individual desktop. No single application or platform encompasses all needs: search, knowledge management, workflow and collaboration. In addition, where collaboration tools do exist, they frequently stand alone or are proprietary tools,” he explained.

Unstructured data remains locked up in documents like emails and images that cannot easily be located or used, Bartolo added. “Whether it involves locating a document or an excerpt, searching for information is often a deeply frustrating process,” he said.

There is a lot of potential for solutions that help workers become more productive with access to the right information, in the right context and at the right time, Bartolo observed. “The potential for ubiquitous real-time collaboration inside enterprises as well as with customers and partners, using voice, video calling, instant messaging and data, remains vast,” he said, listing several examples:

i) Global collaboration: collaboration platforms allow enterprises to bring together internal teams and to work together more effectively with their partners and customers, regardless of location constraints

ii) Bounded co-creation: companies can solve more challenges and do so rapidly, by integrating trusted partners, customers, collaborators, contractors and freelance workers into tightly-knit, ad hoc teams

iii) Workflow collaboration: giving employees the ability to discover internal experts and partners who can improve their performance by sharing knowledge on the go

iv) Sharing tacit strategic knowledge: by allowing access to recordings of past meetings and presentations, companies can make life easier for team-mates, new employees and newly promoted employees alike

v) Sharing tactical knowledge: for example, by popularising wikis containing employee-generated guidelines, workarounds, what-if scenarios, hints and tips

vi) Recognition: widely-used collaboration platforms can be used to recognise and thank colleagues and partners for their work

vii) Recruitment: social media is a great external recruitment tool. Social collaboration platforms inside the enterprise can help managers and HR executives to identify candidates for staff projects or promotion

viii) E-learning: in the academic world, universities are starting to capitalise on the potential of massively open online courses (MOOCs), to extend teaching activities far beyond campus-based lecture halls. Enterprises can do the same, developing their own collaborative learning courses, free from the constraints of time zone and location

“All these elements together create my kind of communications nirvana,” said Bartolo. "While we do not have the tools to achieve all this today, it truly is within reach now."

Find out more about turning communications nirvana into reality here.