Creating a Dynamic Collaborative Environment for Your Employees

July 26, 2013

As a company rooted in collaboration, our philosophy for applying collaboration technologies is more dynamic in approach. When people go to a collaboration site and no one is there, will they come back? The key in the corporate environment is to put collaboration literally at the fingertips of employees and to generate mass involvement—which is the only way that dynamic collaboration works.

If using collaborative technology is going to become an integral part of your organization, it has to become second nature to your employees. It has to feel as easy and intuitive as any other form of collaboration they engage in on a daily basis; such as using their favorite social networking application to share ideas and pictures with family and friends. The following four simple steps can provide a collaborative environment:

  1. Streamline Authentication and User’s Profiles: Employees become irritated with a system if it requires using different log-in IDs and passwords for gaining access to the system or manually copying their user profile information into the environment. Instead, the collaborative solution must be tightly integrated with the corporate identity management solution. Since collaborative capabilities will be embedded into numerous applications, a single sign-on should be implemented. This type of solution requires that a user only completes the authentication process once for the application, thus eliminating the need to re-authenticate for accessing each service.
  2. Integrate Collaboration with Applications: If 90% of your people use one application and if you can incorporate collaboration into that application, then 90% of your people will be connected instantly. By taking inventory of your most-used applications and ranking them according to which get the most use, you can create a good road map for rolling out collaboration. You can start to get a sense of which applications will get the most mileage out of having collaboration integrated into them.
  3. Choose the Appropriate Functionality: Determine which collaborative capabilities should be integrated into which applications—and where in those applications. Many times, the answer is simply to add presence awareness to the most-used web page and web applications. This way, when users come in on Monday morning and log into one of these applications, they’ll be able to see that their colleagues are online and available to collaborate via the various collaborative capabilities. With the click of a button they can open a chat room or an IM session with one or more of these users.
  4. Maximize Screen Real Estate: Try to avoid using a large section of the screen real estate for collaboration services when it can be utilized for other content. Just a small section of the screen with a scroll bar that shows a thousand users are currently online or shows your Buddy List will be sufficient to get their attention.

It’s important to realize that you are trying to bring collaboration to the user, not creating a collaboration tool. Now that you have your employees connected, you can begin to add additional collaborative capabilities to allow them to work more efficiently together.

What tools/ideas have you integrated that allow for your employees to collaborate more dynamically?

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