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Thursday 15 August 2013

Collaboration, Not Conferencing

Recently I wrote about taking the next step in business collaboration, and how companies with their eyes on the climb not only need to come at collaboration from a business perspective first, but should also incorporate unified communications, enterprise social networking, and video technologies into business growth strategies, instead of merely viewing them as tactile approaches for connecting teams. And while that is the next step for many organizations, it’s certainly not the last.
These tools, and the companies that adopt them, need to evolve real-time collaboration into genuinely visual conversations. Even video fails to fully duplicate a truly networked experience — so how can we use visual components to reinvent collaboration?

Ideas and Ideals

It’s a narrow but imperative distinction: virtual collaboration connects cube dwellers with remote employees, but visual conversations do it by imitating the in-person meeting experience and catering to the modern worker’s demands for mobility and instant gratification. Solutions adapt to the people using them, making the process of collaborating more organic and allowing people to work together more naturally.
While utilizing collaboration technology is a top priority for most companies, vetting the landslide of options isn’t — and that’s detrimental to productivity, innovation, and the bottom line. An ideal collaboration solution should always help people accomplish the greatest number of tasks in the least amount of time, support interoperability within a variety of platforms, and allow the integration of multiple applications to provide a truly unified visual plane.

Why Isn’t This Working Yet?

“Competitive advantage is all about harnessing the collective knowledge of the company to make the best decision in the shortest amount of time possible with knowledge from inside and outside corporate walls,” says Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research. “This has made the ability to collaborate virtually, at any time, an absolute must.”
Absolutely true. Furthermore, collaboration is a dynamic process that revolves around discovery and drives innovation. Kerravala offers up these three (excellent) tips to help companies transition from talking about virtual conversations to actually having them:
  • Democratize. The technology should be widely available to all users who need to interact with others. This will allow workers to reach anyone, anywhere through scheduled and ad hoc conversations.
  • Develop business-related benchmarks and key performance metrics. The impact of collaboration on the business depends on the organization’s ability to correlate usage with productivity gains. Develop key performance metrics around specific processes, insert video into the process and measure the metrics to determine the impact.
  • Embrace change, including in the vendors you use. Choose a provider based on its ability to meet your corporate collaboration challenges today and into the future. This means evaluating vendors on their software strength, partnerships, quality of experience and ability to adapt to bandwidth — rather than on vendor incumbency and market share.

Collaboration, Not Conferencing

Call us nitpicky, but here at Mindjet, we want to change more than just the way people work. We want to change how they work together. How they innovate, and how they visualize their own success, and the success of their business. The vast majority of available unified communication tools focus more on conferencing than symbiosis. We can see and hear each other, but that’s about it. We can’t compare notes, or easily share links and documents — worse, we can’t show people what we’re talking about, which substantially limits productivity and understanding.
In just a few days — June 4th, 2013, to be exact — we’re hosting a webinar with Forrester analyst Margo Visitacion. We’ll be discussing why visual collaboration and project management makes sense, why traditional project planning isn’t enough, and how anyone can use Mindjet to go from communicating virtually to having legitimate visual conversations.
We hope you’ll join us.

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