Collaboration – All the World (and Beyond) is a Stage

Digital collaboration solutions have created the ability for businesses to become more efficient, unite regional and international teams, build stronger partnerships between suppliers and their customers, and ultimately create more opportunities for sales and profits. While collaboration is a popular buzzword, few companies have truly embraced this powerful force. You can talk about collaboration and its importance to your organization, but are you dedicating resources and technology to make it a reality?

The 2014 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, based on surveys of professionals between the ages of 18-50 in 15 countries, provides insight into the future workplace.

  • Work Flexibility – Roughly two thirds of professionals believe that an organization that has adopted a flexible, mobile and remote work model has a competitive advantage over one that requires employees to be in the office from 9am to 5pm every weekday.
  • National and Global Distribution of Workforce – Driven by respondents in Germany and France, more than one quarter believe organizations will be more nationally and/or globally distributed by the year 2020, where managers will not need to be in the same office as their direct reports every weekday.
  • Working Remotely…From Mars – About one quarter would be willing to move to Mars or another planet if their organization was to open a branch.

I do not own a crystal ball, but the future workplace appears to involve a workforce that will live and work farther from the Mothership - perhaps literally if some of these respondents are able to relocate to Mars. Collaboration solutions will be critical to the success of such a far-flung workforce. And it’s far more than telepresence. Colleagues need to be able to seamlessly share, create and edit content in real time. They need to be able to pull together data from many content sources – video, web, apps – to develop solutions that advance their business objectives.

Is 2015 the year when companies put money where their mouth is and the dream becomes realized? After years of lackluster growth, Forrester’s annual European Tech Market Outlook forecast for 2015 is a 4.9% acceleration in European business and government purchases of technology goods and services. This is one of the reasons we see investment in Europe as building a foundation for growth for Prysm’s Cascade collaboration video wall business.

As I mentioned in a previous post, collaboration is not listed as one of the top 10 concerns of IT departments, however, collaboration is the solution for many of the issues that are of concern. If business and government spending on technology goods and services lives up to its 2015 forecast, it is likely that collaboration solutions will be an important part of the plan.

Easy-to-use collaboration solutions integrated in the ongoing business processes will be the thread that ties together the work of disparate teams, bridging the gap between employees that reside across borders and maybe even on different worlds. 2015 may be the year that collaboration becomes more than a buzzword, but a true catalyst for team building, productivity and innovation.