What is a collaborative work management platform? How can you start to realise the benefits of one?
Imagine, what could you achieve if your team was 20% more productive each workweek?
The Origins of Collaborate
One of the earliest terms for collaborative software can be traced back to 1978 as “groupware”. The term by Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz was originally more broadly defined as “intentional group processes plus software to support them”. Simply, embodying software and the hearts and minds of those using it, that is most effective when tailored to the group’s purpose. (1)
The Oxford English Dictionary describes collaborate as “the action of working with someone to produce something”, originating from the mid-19th century Latin word of collaborare.
Today the term underpins our core SaaS product here at Dusk Mobile and who we are as an organisation. A collaborator.
By merely improving communication and collaboration through social technologies, productivity of interaction workers could be lifted by 20-25%. An interaction worker is defined as someone whose job requires them to spend their time interacting with other people, both internally and externally to their organisation.
The average interaction worker spends around 28% of their workweek managing e-mails and nearly 20% looking for internal information or tracking down a colleague to help with a task.
An easy and quick searchable record of knowledge from messages and content can reduce the time employees spend looking for information by up to 35%. (2)
Further value can be realised through faster, more efficient, and more effective collaboration both within and between enterprises.
What does your typical work week look like?
Your team has a wide assortment of tools at their disposal to perform their jobs. These could span e-mail, chat, voice/video platforms, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems, specialist industry platforms and many more.
To increase complexity, each tool requires a secure login and could be a blended model of on-premise software or cloud hosted software.
It is quite likely that your team requires information from more than one source to make a decision. This could be from other team members, or multiple systems. Your team member finds the information and makes the decision, but then another team member needs to make a very similar decision and starts the process again. This is being repeated many times in a workweek and could easily be reduced significantly and in some cases avoided altogether. Let’s see a couple of examples to illustrate:
Real example #1 – Inspecting an asset requires an action in the EAM solution before a task is created in the Scheduling software. Consider then a follow-on action occurs from the physical inspection of the asset, such as a return visit. This assumes the whole process is digitised, where in many cases it may only be partially digitised.
This essential and regularly performed process has multiple human interactions. It would benefit from a collaboration platform for centralised access in the first phase and then automated flows with a rule builder later on. Benefits included reduced data entry and human interaction between the different tasks and teams, delivering cost savings and efficiencies.
Real example #2 – Your team is responsible for undertaking tasks on behalf of an external customer. You plan your week or month in Excel, spending 2 or 3 days perfecting your work planning. There is a basic form you’ve built for your team to capture the information in. The state-wide team then complete their tasks and send back the information.
You receive a multitude of documents containing their best efforts at completion plus a bunch of information written in the wrong fields. “don’t forget I’m on leave next week mate” in the signature field. A further 2 days are spent cleaning this information and making phone calls back to confirm to the teams in the field. Finally presenting it in nice graphs before emailing it to your customer.
At the end of this, you have no idea whether the customer even opens the email, however you have honored your contract to supply the information. This example is a typical work week, but could involve staff phoning in sick with re-planning needed, lost data, failed hardware and more.
Now imagine this could progressively be managed from a collaborative work management platform including a personalised branded customer login where your customers would receive a simple alert advising them to login once the tasks are completed. Benefits were significant financial savings with initial planning of work, staff being much better utilised based on their skills and quality of data delivering a greater customer experience resulting in contract stickiness
How to get started?
That all sounds great and I get the opportunity but how would I get started at my company? Your organisation likely has an innovation team or someone tasked with researching and validating innovative initiatives, within and beyond technology.
Look across your teams and functions in your organisation for those processes, in which multiple parties are involved end-to-end.
From those teams and functions, identify what we would call the “speed to business impact” opportunity. You’re looking for a high impact and rapid ROI to demonstrate value early on.
Imagine visualising your data at each location in real time. Historically, this could have been a month end task for anyone outside of head office. The immediate benefit being real time data equals real time decisions and real time savings or real time improvements. Build on this momentum progressively. Don’t forget to measure from the beginning!
A simple, easy to use and business-user friendly collaborative work management platform allows you to do this.
Getting started with a collaborative work management platform may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. Try a 30 day free trial of our Intelligent Operations Platform and start seeing the benefits of searchable data, informed decision making and a single, comprehensive view of your business in real time and start collaborating today.
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Any questions: Our community is here to help in the Support & Updates area!
- Rhythms, Boundaries, and Containers: Creative Dynamics of Asynchronous Group Life. Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz
- The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies. Mckinsey Global Institute