In our last post, we discussed the business benefits of video collaboration. Video conferencing solutions have moved out of the boardroom and onto desktops and mobile devices. This enables remote and mobile workers to communicate and collaborate via video without time-consuming setup or complex technology. Even telepresence solutions, which create the effect that everyone is in the same room, have become easier to manage and use.

Of course, video is just one collaboration technology — chat, instant messaging and web conferencing can also enhance communication. Collaboration technology allows for more productive engagement and interaction with employees, managers, partners and customers, increasing efficiency, enhancing business processes and accelerating decision-making.

However, simply implementing these tools is not enough. You need an effective strategy that enables your organization to realize the benefits of collaboration. And the success of that strategy depends upon the people who embrace the concept of collaboration and use the technologies you implement.

If your company encourages and rewards the sharing of knowledge and information, as opposed to having employees work privately in guarded silos, the strategy is more likely to work. Consequently, senior managers must lay the foundation for collaboration by creating and nurturing a culture that’s conducive to collaboration.

Everyone in the organization, from executive management to administrative personnel, needs to adopt and actively use the collaboration tools you implement. Your strategy won’t achieve the desired results if only certain individuals or departments are collaborating.

Aligning your collaboration strategy with your overall business objectives and processes will help to increase user adoption. Every component of your collaboration strategy should serve a clear business purpose. It’s also important to take into account the needs of various user groups. For example, the needs of a remote, mobile workforce are much different than those of users who spend most of their time in the office.

Once you’ve identified user needs, you can evaluate applications and services to fill those needs, including real-time communication and social collaboration tools, conferencing platforms, and file sharing applications. Look beyond sales proposals and product demonstrations to determine which tools are scalable, flexible and able to help you meet your goals.

By conducting a pilot project, you can determine if the tools you’ve selected are a good fit, identify any gaps, and fine-tune your strategy. You’ll also be helping users become more comfortable with collaboration, and showing them how your strategy will enable them to save time and do their jobs better.

To determine the success of your collaboration strategy, you will need to collect and analyze metrics such as adoption, usage and engagement. It’s also important to consider the depth of the relationships that result from collaboration, as well as reductions in communication gaps.

Human beings have been collaborating for millennia. Modern technology simply facilitates more efficient collaboration and helps you improve the way you do business. That’s why technology should take a backseat to business requirements and user needs when developing your collaboration strategy.

SSD believes that technology should improve productivity and enhance your business processes. Let us help you develop a smart collaboration strategy and determine which tools, services and applications make the most sense for your organization.