We’re all connected, all the time. Whether it’s synchronously through real-time meetings, both in-person or online, or asynchronously through email, team workspaces or even memos left on a desk, communication is not hard to come by in the workplace.
But what good are all of these connections if they don’t help us get more work done more efficiently?
In our recent eBook of tech predictions and insights for 2015, I wrote my thoughts on why the convergence of different collaboration methods represents the future of work. I also posed a very important question:
How Do We Transform Connections into Productivity?
The modern workplace is one of constant collaboration. And as the collaboration market has grown and its offerings have matured, there are very few barriers left for workers to work together whenever, wherever and however they choose. Unfortunately, a lot of these possibilities still live in disparate solutions, requiring constant shifting and relearning as users transition from one collaboration method to the next.
That’s why convergence, or the creation of a truly unified collaboration experience, is such an important next step for how we all communicate in the workplace; it will get us closer to solving the challenge of empowering productivity through our connections.
More Productive Collaboration
One of the reasons I believe that convergence is so important is that it represents the natural way we already want to work with one another.
We all have unique collaboration styles, complete with our own preferences and workflows. However, current collaboration paradigms tend to ignore these differences, shoehorning workers into whatever the software solution allows.
Your organization only provides conference calling, so I hope that’s the only way you ever need to communicate with anyone.
Think of it this way: if you’re sitting right next to someone in an office, you can collaborate with them however you want. You can pull them aside for a quick chat, write them a note, leave a memo on their desk, call them, schedule a meeting, etc. However, the very technologies that have revolutionized the workplace in an attempt to bring us closer together and help us work faster have also placed artificial barriers between us. I can’t always grab Joe’s ear, because Joe telecommutes for half of the week. There’s now an extra step between me and that ad hoc chat with Joe that keeps us aligned and productive.
Why can’t modern business collaboration be as simple as sitting next to someone, letting us seamlessly navigate between real-time, near-time, etc. depending on what the situation or our personal workstyles call for? All of the pieces are in place: dynamic presence, video and audio conferencing, team workspaces, file share services. But everything is still too disparate and disjointed.
Making Intelligent Communication Choices
Ultimately, it’s about being able to make intelligent choices, both about how our work connections are made and the output of all of these interactions. Without a completely unified collaboration experience, you may, for example, find yourself buried in an ongoing email thread trying to get a simple piece of information from someone when the answer was a simple 5-10 minute conversation away. Because you no longer sit right next to the people you work with on a regular basis, you’re forced into turning to potentially drawn-out solutions to simple problems.
Imagine instead, being able to seamlessly transition from email, relying on dynamic presence information to know when your coworker was available and hop online for that ad hoc chat, without ever leaving your desk or mobile device.
Instead of stretching the problem out for days or weeks, it’s taken care of in just a few minutes, all thanks to intelligently leveraged communication and collaboration options within an organization.
That’s what my quote from the eBook—and really, the entire chapter—is about. All of the connections we need have already been made. The software, the endpoints, the networks and the infrastructure all exist. Is there room for improvement? Always. We’ll constantly be working to make things faster, more efficient and easier to use. There will always be a new start-up that comes along with the next big idea in meetings or collaboration. But really, all of the bridges have already been built.
The question is how will we cross them?
For more of Boland’s collaboration insights as well as analysis from experts at Frost & Sullivan, AirWatch by VMWare, Central Desktop and Edelman, download our free eBook “The Future of Business Collaboration 2015 Edition” today.