Advancing user preferences in workforce collaboration

  • Email and face-to-face meetings remain the most popular forms of workforce collaboration.

  • Increased use of the cloud, apps, instant messaging, and social networks is changing the face of collaboration.

  • IT plays a pivotal role in enabling user-preferred forms of collaboration.

Face-to-face interaction and email remain the most used forms of enterprise collaboration. And while they are effective, IT can add new ways to communicate that help productivity. Employees want to do their work in the fastest and most direct ways possible, so they often find new ways to complete tasks more effectively. It’s up to IT to incorporate these new practices into the workplace.

5 segments of the workforce value chain

Cloud-based file synchronization and enterprise apps combined with instant messaging and social networks are leading the way as a new type of collaboration emerges. But it isn’t enough to know the trend is growing. Dion Hinchliffe of business consulting firm Adjuvi identifies five segments of the Workforce Collaboration Value Chain that IT needs to monitor and enable. These are inputs, tools, activities, output, and impact.

IT’s role in enabling collaboration

Of the five segments, IT should devote its technical expertise to providing the tools and refining the output used by enterprises. These segments require the specific knowledge and computing resources that only IT can deliver. But to be effective, organizations must develop a deep and continuous understanding of two other links in the chain: Inputs and activities.

According to GigaOM’s research on The modern workforce: the future of corporate collaboration, in-person meetings and email still dominate enterprise communication. But both instant messaging and company-based social network tools are gaining ground. One indicator that IT should take note of and capitalize on is the finding that 42% of workers prefer a work culture characterized as consensus or “entrepreneurial.”

The role of IT in this evolving culture is to understand the activities being conducted in pursuit of business success and the tools staff members are choosing. IT, then, should follow those preferences but add its technical expertise by enhancing the tools and integrating them into the enterprise infrastructure.

How IT can impact business performance

The final step in the value chain is impact. Every effort made by IT should be geared toward the impact the company is trying to achieve. It isn’t necessary or even wise to reinvent tools that already exist and have found their way into the work habits of the enterprise. IT can co-opt popular systems and methods, then enhance them to better fit company goals and work more seamlessly in users’ collaboration efforts.

Superior tools that are not adopted by users are wasted effort. Take cues from existing practices, monitor use cases, and enable the workforce by integrating what is being used into what the company wants to accomplish.

To learn more about integrating emerging collaboration capabilities into your enterprise, visit AT&T Unified Communications.


Scott Koegler is an independent business writer and the author of this blog. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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