Many technology deployments are undertaken in the name of efficiency. Business leaders contending with limited budgets must find ways of reducing cost, and utilizing online database software can lift a lot of the software management burden. However, technology often provides more abstract benefits such as better collaboration. Writing for the Financial Post, Jean Adams, assistant professor for policy specialization at the Schulich School of Business, said that the future of business will place a premium on facilitating collaboration among workers. The article, co-authored by IBM’s Chuck Hamilton, noted the importance of social collaboration tools in particular.
Facebook and other social networks have already made their mark on the consumer world. According to the writers, however, using social technology in business has yielded significant advantages as well. By making information exchanges both quicker and easier, companies stand to gain in both efficiency and employee morale. For example, a pilot project offered to students at York University’s Schulich School of Business involved virtual collaboration tools that mimicked the functionality of social media. The technology included discussion groups and calendar applications featuring real-time updates.
“They gained a robust appreciation of how these tools can shift priorities away from static documents and projects back to people – the ultimate source of energy, creativity and decision-making that makes things happen,” Adams and Hamilton wrote.
While these types of tools can provide employees with a more dynamic way to communicate – whether workers are in the office, at home or meeting customers on the other side of the country – companies will likely need a perspective shift to use them to full effectiveness. TechTarget contributor Pamela DeLoatch noted that it is not enough to simply encourage employees to use social collaboration. Instead, it should become a part of day-to-day life throughout the company. This means integrating a social philosophy early in project planning stages, in custom CRM development projects and in the evaluation phase following software deployments.