Collaboration Enablers

Stephen Eiting About The Author

June 23, 2020

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Collaboration seems to be the hottest buzzword in IT for the last 18 months and you can’t have a conversation without it since the escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak this past March. The funny thing is, collaboration was difficult before we were working from home, now that everyone is miles away working remotely, it is even more challenging. That said, the old saying “necessity is the mother of invention” couldn’t be more true.

Collaboration tools including Microsoft Teams, Slack, Google Meet, Dropbox, Zoom, and Cisco WebEx Teams are becoming the way billion-dollar companies conduct business. When entire businesses are running on these platforms, it becomes increasingly important to ensure that best practices are in place to secure them.

How important is it to have a working collaboration tool right now? Companies that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to retain their best employees and organizations with effective communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover. It’s a lot easier to communicate when everyone is in the same building, but when you are forced to work remotely, creating a virtual workspace, it is a new challenge.

Many creators of these tools have refocused their development attention on their collaboration tools to bring new and important features to them, including attempting to emulate interaction paradigms from the physical office. Options like raising your hand, a dynamic whiteboard during a meeting, and more application integrations.

With all of these tools available, the classic problem of choice overload is seen nearly everywhere. Instead of finding a single platform to use for Messaging, Video Conferencing, and File Sharing, at least three tools are typically deployed. I am betting you don’t have to think back very far to remember the last time that two of those three tools didn’t cooperate for you.

Step one to solving that problem is getting the technology suite consolidated to do exactly what you want, using as few technologies as possible. Step two is making sure the technologies are configured properly, enabling best security practices to ensure that PII and PHI don’t escape outside of the tool. The third step is helping all employees understand how they should be using it in their role and making sure they know how to use the technology tools themselves. Providing them with training if necessary.

Finally, as mentioned at the beginning, security is paramount when using collaboration tools. The biggest threat is having too many tools. The more tools you have the tougher it becomes to manage this security and the more open you leave yourself for malicious activity. Many collaboration tools use the standards of SOC 2 and HIPAA, but it often depends on the plan of the service you are using whether or not you receive the full benefits of that security.

I hope this has helped provide some perspective on what business collaboration looks like in 2020 and why it is important to create a lean infrastructure. Virtual collaboration is growing more popular every day, and having the right tools is essential to ensuring success and continuity in your organization.