Group Collaboration Trends for 2014 and Beyond: Part 2
In my last post, I covered the first two mega-trends for group collaboration: the awareness and need for context and increased employee engagement. Here are the remaining two:
Demand for Transparency
As we continue to recover from the financial crisis of the late ‘00s, the outcry for transparency grows ever stronger. From the Freedom of Information Act, Sarbanes-Oxley (and its international counterparts C-SOX, J-SOX, Code Tabaksplat, etc.) to the CAN-SPAM Act, transparency is either mandated by law, or now expected in almost every facet of life.
Millennials also eat transparency for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They want to know who’s making the decision, why/how that decision was made, and who’s accountable for the results. They want a voice in what’s being decided — and they aren’t shy about letting you know.
Having said that, there’s transparency and there’s stupidity. I’m not advocating we conduct public employee performance reviews on the Web, or publish product trade secrets on PR Newswire. That’s being stupid, disrespectful, and irresponsible.
Transparency is about creating a culture of openness. Transparency on the whole, increases productivity, makes an organization more nimble, creates greater trust, and reduces costs. A transparent culture provides the information people need to take appropriate action so that they are serving their company’s mission, and getting their jobs done as efficiently as possible.
Gone are the days when hoarding information was a way to collect power and exercise control. Today the exact opposite is true. Those who gather and freely share information and willingly collaborate with others are those who have the most influence, and can exercise personal power to support their companies’ mission.
The most effective and efficient collaboration cannot happen without technology. We’re too scattered across the Earth, working different schedules, using different devices, working with lots of different content types and datasets that we need to access.
Collaboration also means different things to different people. For some it’s file sharing and syncing, or joint content creation and development, or real-time brainstorming, etc. Everyone’s using different tools. The last thing anyone needs is another tool that doesn’t talk to all the other tools.
Which is why I see the cloud growing in importance and the ability for whatever software you use to talk and share information back and forth with your other software — whether cloud or client-based.
So if you’re running Dropbox for file syncing, and Google Apps to do your spreadsheet collaboration, Trello for project management — naturally you want them all to work together seamlessly along with any new software you discover you need.
At Kerio, we use Samepage to run our entire business. It provides transparency worldwide for our employees, partners, resellers, and customers. In fact, without Samepage, Kerio would grind to a halt. Finance, product development, training, service, support, sales, business development, marketing, manufacturing, engineering, distribution — every part of our company collaborates on Samepage. We designed Samepage for our own purposes. We wanted people to have 24x7x365 access to the information they need to get their jobs done. And we’re constantly creating integrations with other collaborative software tools such as DropBox, GoogleDrive, and OneDrive to make collaboration as easy as turning on your iPad.
To me, the future of work is clear. It’s collaboration-centric. The most successful companieswill instill a collaborative culture. Because when collaboration is as natural as breathing, it transforms a company’s data into wisdom and smart business actions. And it’s those insights that set the best companies apart from the mediocre ones.