Working in the field of communication, media and marketing, I always argue that communication is key to the success or failure of every business. There is no business without communication. Clear, fast and efficient communication is vital in order to achieve project objectives on time and on budget.
Collaboration is also an important component in organisations yet often misunderstood. In this guest blog post titled ‘Getting Collaboration Right’ written by Morten T. Hansen and Herminia Ibarr for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, two are the traps of collaborations: a) under-collaboration and b) over-collaboration. What is the right balance and how technology can assist organisation striking it?
One thing is certain that the business world has never been as challenging as it is today — and there is no single recipe for success. Every company has different needs and the paths to success depend on how the communication process works at a particular business, what kind of channels, tools or technology are used to handle business communication and what are the challenges currently faced in the business.
In my field, in higher education, my typical business day demands constant communication with a variety of stakeholders from students to colleagues to business partners, policy-makers. Physical and virtual meetings are daily scheduled in my agenda and a variety of tools are used to enable communication and collaboration such as emails, instant messaging, video conferencing, social networks, virtual workspaces.
The biggest change that I have experienced over the past 1-5 years is that new tools are introduced constantly and communication has changed rapidly with the use of social media being more prominent in corporate communications than ever.
For instance, e-mail has been and is a useful tool for many interactions, however over the past years the volume of communication has increased dramatically. For instance, I remember when I was working in Athens 2004 Olympic Games as a Liaison Officer, I had only 1 email account and I was checking my email once a day to see if I have a new incoming email to my inbox! Nowadays 10 years ahead I am receiving literally hundreds of emails daily. I also refresh my email numerous times a day and I have a variety of accounts (my work email, my personal Gmail, my Yahoo, my old Hotmail and the list goes on and on). The problem isn’t the communication method, it’s the volume of communication.
Virtual learning platforms and workspaces such as Moodle, Blackboard and LeaP are tools that provide easy access for students to valuable information and enable teachers collecting and reviewing assignments, monitoring progress on projects and giving students feedback.
Calendars helps the organisaiton and the planning of project work and assignments. Blogs help students create content, build virtual portfolios of their work, develop their personal brand as well as network in the blogosphere. In many of my courses, students are blogging instead of assignment that collect dust in my desk.
Tools such as Google+ Hangouts On Air, Skype and ConnectPro enable the exchange of ideas and best practices among peers (student-to-student), student to teacher and teacher-to-teacher. I often use these tools to hold virtual meetings with colleagues from other institutions and students who are doing their work placement or an exchange semester abroad.
Mobility is also assisted with BYOD policies and cloud computing. Todays professional is a mobile professional on-the-go!
Fujitsu is pioneering in providing solutions for a human-centric workplace based on its strong research, development and innovation work. This video offers a window and insights of how workplaces will evolve.
One of the most interesting topics in the verge of technology and business, Unified Communication and Collaboration (UC&C). ‘Unified communication and collaboration’ is essential for the office communication of the future. It integrates various communication streams such as e-mail, fax, video calls, instant messaging, voice, audio and conferencing, and makes them easily accessible.
In today’s competitive market, the workforce needs to be efficient and effective. Also, enterprises are seeking cost-efficient and innovative ways to boost their productivity. To build competitive advantage you need the ability to make business decisions quickly and with confidence. A Unified Communications infrastructure can enable collaboration, connect people and information in real time to accelerate decision-making and enable teamwork across physical boundaries.
Combining Unified Communications, such as telepresence, instant messaging, and video conferencing with collaboration solutions like social networks, virtual workspaces, and skills finders, can help your employees to securely access and share information wherever and whenever they need it. These solutions can also deliver significant cost savings, not just from lower telephony bills, but from reduced travel and conferencing expenses.
This video shows the possibilities of a dream workplace where time, effort and resources are saved.
What challenges do you face in your current workplace regarding communication and collaboration and what is your idea of the perfect communication solution? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.