GUEST OPINION by Sam Deckert, Founder and Principal Consultant at Peak Insight: It’s tempting to view business collaboration projects as complex activities that take a long time to show a significant return on investment. Planning and deployment is likely to take months and any impact on daily activity will take an extended period to become apparent.
Thankfully, however, this is doesn’t have to be the case. Increasing numbers of organisations are finding it’s possible to go from concept to payback in a very short space of time. This can result in a rapid improvement in staff productivity and have a positive hit to the organisation’s bottom line.
Focus on quick wins
For many organisations, changes associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in a shift to the way collaboration projects are undertaken. Rather than looking to achieve large-scale, organisation wide changes, they are instead focused on achieving quick wins that can be gained within a short period of time.
During COVID, such quick wins were necessary to ensure that staff could remain productive even when suddenly forced to work from home. By focusing on projects that could support workflows and processes, disruption could be minimised and client service levels retained.
When it comes to collaboration, there are a range of steps that can be followed to increase the likelihood that quick wins will be achieved. These steps include:
- Begin with the end in mind: Before any activity begins, be crystal clear about exactly what the end goal actually is. It might be to streamline a particular business process or help a team communicate more easily with the wider company. Ensure these goals are documented and everyone is on the same page.
- Access all areas: Some ways in which a collaboration project can deliver benefits may not be as evident as others. Be sure to examine all areas of the organisation and identify all ways in which investment and activity can assist.
- Look for existing gaps: It might be the case that earlier projects were never completed or failed to deliver expected benefits. Look at the current state and where the gaps exist. Filling these could result in a quick win.
- Remember in-office facilities: While there has been considerable focus on equipping and supporting home-based staff, don’t forget to examine in-office facilities for opportunities to score quick wins. Consider deploying collaboration tools such as electronic whiteboards and better audio and video collaboration platforms that can be used when staff return to the office.
- Better equip remote staff: It’s likely many remote workers are relying on microphones and video cameras they used privately before the lockdowns. Check whether these can be upgraded to enhance call quality and usability.
- Check interoperability: It’s likely that different groups began using different collaboration tools during the lockdowns. Some may have embraced Teams while others rely on Zoom or Skype to get things done. Take time to check that all staff are able to easily collaborate with each other using their preferred tools.
- Embrace cloud calling: Remote working can cause an alarming jump in mobile phone costs. Look for ways in which internet-based cloud calling can be introduced to get bills back under control.
- Continue the process: Effective collaboration projects are usually ongoing in nature. Processes and supporting tools are continually being reviewed and replaced as better alternatives appear. Keep your projects moving forward at all times.
By undertaking these steps, quick wins can be achieved from collaboration projects across your organisation. Staff enthusiasm for changes will be maintained once they see the results that are being achieved and management will remain on board when cost savings and productivity improvements become clear.
Consider how collaboration projects can add value to your organisation. It might not take as long to achieve as you thought.
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