The enterprise collaboration news in March was about getting real when it comes to business innovation. This included considering the ways in which technology has influenced business practices, reviewing which improvements need to be made, and suggesting how businesses can not only become more innovative, but help others do so too.
Is tech changing business?
There’s no doubt about the fact that technology is increasingly prevalent in business, and it’s here to stay. But to what degree is it changing how businesses and markets operate?
In his article, Dion Hinchcliffe argues that businesses are at a crossroads when it comes to technology. He explains that the influence of digital technology on the business world has polarised the marketplace, whereby those who have embraced technology have been propelled much further forward than those who have resisted. He quotes a talk by Sameer Patel, which describes that although businesses may have digitised, they haven’t transformed. Sameer and Dion explain that the true transformation goes to the core of the business model and rethinks it in modern digital terms, identifying what benefits can come from digitisation and adapting the business’s goals and aims with these in mind.
But it’s vital not to let the tools dictate the transformation. Ben Wightwick describes in his article for FreePint, how enterprise collaboration is vital to the new world of business, transcending the social tools themselves but offering much more. Ben explains that enterprise collaboration tools enable organisations to leverage their human network. Ben concludes that this focus on people, rather than technology, builds out the foundations of the concept of the social enterprise. This echoes Sameer Patel’s point that many businesses have digitised but not transformed; many have adopted social tools but not yet become social businesses.
Round up of the AIIM report
A survey by AIIM was released this month: Content Collaboration and Processing in a Cloud and Mobile World, which set out to measure the drivers for collaboration, the strategy choices being made, and the feature sets required, alongside user requirements for mobile content access and mobile interaction with content processes and workflows.
The 33 page survey contains a variety of interesting findings, which have been reviewed by several publications and blogs who have picked up on different points. Shane Schutte for Real Business reported that 93 percent of business leaders believe internal collaboration is either crucial or very important to what they do, while 59 percent believe the same to be true of external collaboration.
Managing Partner picked up on the fact that although internal and external collaboration are high on the agenda for many businesses, many IT teams restrict access to document sharing and remote working tools. This has seen users turn to consumer cloud file sharing services which do not meet security criteria for business use. In fact, Managing Partner points out, only 23 percent currently provide an approved business-grade alternative.
David Roe took a more detailed look into his report for CMSWire, and noticed that while most organisations see collaboration as crucial to their success, nearly two-thirds feel confused about where collaboration and social tools meet. David’s article also focussed on the desire for mobile optimised collaboration tools, where only 30 percent of businesses surveyed have the functionality. Similarly, David notes, only 20 percent of organisations offer fully inclusive bring-your-own-device policies, something we covered in our blog post BYOD: the facts.
Standing on the shoulders of giants
A theme emerged among social business blogs this month: one of standing on the shoulders of giants. In the world of enterprise collaboration, this refers to building on the work of the collective, or the work of experts that have gone before. As Oscar Berg explains in an article on his blog, each person who creates value builds on the value created by other people. The giant in this case is the workforce as collective, past and present. Oscar argues that the “performance of an individual or team depends on the cooperation by individuals and teams from the community as a whole when it takes place in a dynamic, unpredictable, and complex environment.”
Adi Gaskell argues in his article that the intellectual property system discourages this approach. Adi suggests that the introduction of IP and patent laws, a system designed to encourage greater innovation, have instead stifled it. He states that “innovation happens best when there is a ready supply of knowledge and insight for people to either build on or remix in new ways”. In this case the giants are the innovators who have come before, and Adi argues that current day innovators should allow themselves to become giants of the future by opening up their intellectual property.