Transforming Internal Collaboration for the Digital Economy

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The rapidly emerging digital economy is resulting in considerable changes in business structure and strategy. While buzzwords like “digital transformation” get thrown around far too frequently, there is no doubt that agility is key to success. The idea of transforming organizations digitally is at the heart of Phase2’s focus on content, collaboration, and experience, whether we’re implementing a CMS platform, crafting user-focused digital experiences, or enhancing communications via internal platforms. We’re all about enabling organizations to thrive in the constantly evolving digital landscape.

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Elaborating on the major principles of organizational transformation in the digital age, Forrester Research highlights the need to harness big data, transform customer experience, leverage cloud-based innovation, and embrace the mobile mind-shift. Unfortunately, many organizations that have successfully adopted Forrester’s principles still fail to follow through on an indispensable aspect of digital transformation: internal reorganization paired with technology modernization. Even companies which attempt to implement internal changes struggle to make such sweeping metamorphoses stick, often becoming sidelined by a lack of leadership, inertia, and structure.

Structured Collaboration & Workflow

As a nationally distributed organization, we’ve learned that structured communication methods are crucial to company workflow, which plays a major role in allowing or preventing digital success. Happily, several encouraging trends suggest that systematic collaboration is only going to get easier over the coming years.

Structurally, it’s becoming more common for disparate tools (such as file sharing, enterprise social networks, and digital content management) to merge into a unified set of capabilities, coalesced into hubs and/or platforms. These hubs serve as the central launch point for the day, blurring the lines between various applications through integration. The IBM Verse, for instance, is a re-imagination of the way email, social communication, security, mobile access, analytics, and the cloud can be joined through a single point of entry.

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Workflow is now easier than ever with fundamental changes in the design and intended use of productivity apps. These apps have undergone a transformation of their own in recent years, now offering a more fluid way to create and share content. Evernote, Box, and Microsoft’s Sway, which are simpler than typical productivity apps like Word and PowerPoint, embody the concepts of fast and easy content creation, sharing, and commenting that allow for a quick and collaborative environment.

The Secret Ingredient: Culture & Best Practices

So, you have all the right tools at your disposal: your platform and productivity apps are ready to go. But how do you ensure employees utilize these tools efficiently (or at all)?

The culture element is a reflection of the company’s willingness to embrace social collaboration and organizational transparency. The benefits of open social collaboration are numerous: access to a bigger pool of expertise, greater visibility across the organization, a more empowered and engaged staff, and not least compounded innovation through shared ideas. In larger organizations, internal data and analytics will play an increasing role in helping staff seek out important content and relevant people, enabling individuals and the company as a whole operate more efficiently.

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Hand in hand with culture is the adoption of best practices when setting up and maintaining your platform (a less intuitive process than you might imagine!). Even the most sophisticated organizations can often be intranet dinosaurs, subjecting their employees to cluttered landing pages and stale content. For more information on improving the experience of your platform, read up on “5 Things You Think Your Intranet Needs for Better UX - But It Doesnt.” Here’s a few quick pointers:

  1. Although you want to encourage social collaboration, your intranet does not - we repeat, does not - need to be “Facebooked.” Instead of rolling out a discussion board on every page that will be stale within two months, think strategically about where you can introduce targeted feedback.

  2. Even when internal communication and workflow is happening in one central location, remember not to overcrowd your platform with too much content or information. That’s the fastest way to drive down employee adoption!

  3. Sometimes the problem is not necessarily employees unwilling to use the intranet, but their ability to easily location content or connect with the people they need to. Make sure your platform’s navigation is well developed to allow your staff to operate efficiently within it.

How has your company transformed digitally? What changes are you seeing to augment social collaboration internally? Let us know in the comments! Sign up for our newsletter for more on the “new digital institution,” with insights from the Collaborative Economy Conference, sponsored by Phase2, later this month!

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