Avocor Blog - Effective collaboration.. just another 'buzz' word?
It feels like everyone is talking about collaboration these days, how can businesses improve customer experiences, enhance cross team engagement and increase productivity through collaboration and what tools need to be deployed to make that collaboration effective?
In a recent survey conducted by Harvard Business Review, findings highlighted the two most important areas that collaboration needed to address within the workplace as delivering ‘effective team communication’ and ‘fostering collaboration both inside and outside an organisation.’ With teams becoming increasingly dispersed, the challenge for managers can be centred on making remote workers feel included and not isolated.
As part of the research, Robert Cross, a management professor at the University of Virginia, shared findings recently that showed a 50 percent increase in ‘collaborative intensity’ over the last 10 years, citing that today’s managers spend between 90 and 95 percent of their working hours in meetings or responding to emails compared to 60 to 65 percent little more than a decade ago.
So how does technology fit into this environment? We have an increasing global workforce whose office ‘fits in the palm of their hand’. As consumers, our mobile devices enable us to connect with people via a wide variety of apps, whether its Skype, Facebook, Snapchat or WhatsApp. We can manage our lives from our mobiles, even control the heating in our homes remotely and the business environment is starting to catch up. There is an increasing amount of business applications designed to improve our productivity such as OneNote, Office 365 or Evernote whilst there is a plethora of web based conferencing tools from Skype for Business to Google Hangout – we can now have virtual video meetings, bringing the right people into the meeting at a click of an icon rather than long laborious phone calls. Video conferencing can also mean that we can connect with more people than ever before, reducing the need for lengthy travel time to hour long meetings…
But with more time being spent in meetings than ever before, how can technology help improve the meeting experience? Interactive devices have exploded onto the market with the emergence of the ‘collaboration board’, a term used to describe large format, interactive displays that form the core of the collaboration hub, huddle or zone.
Improved productivity and greater work efficiency is a result of contribution and meeting room technology should facilitate this. We can collaborate every day on tablets, laptops and ‘individual’ screens but true and effective collaboration happens on a ‘shared’ screen, meaning a screen multiple users in the same room can view, absorb information from and contribute on then the workgroup can achieve better results.
The entrants into this new market include industry giants such as Microsoft with the Surface Hub, the Google Jam Board or the Cisco SparkBoard, all launching to the market in the past 18 months. These solutions provide users with an environment that enhances the work place by delivering a solution designed to improve communication within teams and customers or capture meeting findings and actions, increasing productivity. The downside to some of these platforms is that they are ‘locked down’ to the propriety software / applications pioneered by the manufacturers. That’s why the solution from Avocor is so unique, designed with ease of use in mind, they enhance cross-team collaboration and improve productivity by offering a simple user interface. Powered by an on-board internal Windows 10 PC, getting meetings started is straight forward by just hitting the recognisable Windows icon, gaining instant access to familiar applications available for mobile or desktop use.
Because Avocor promotes an open platform, the possibilities when considering a solution that is bespoke to customer requirements is endless. With a wealth of connectivity available including RS232 controls, the solution is the core of your integrated visual platform, enabling elements to be added to the solution as and when required. Adding a web camera and connecting via cloud based applications such as Skype for Business or Google Hangout can enhance the meeting experience for remote workers, making them feel more included whilst tools like Adobe Connect provides complete web conferencing solutions for webinars, online meetings and even virtual classrooms.
In short, we live in a digital age, that’s non-disputed but we should remember that we work in one too and organisations need to provide their workforce with the best tools that have been designed to increase productivity and break down communication barriers. The collaboration tools that are chosen need to be easy to use and available on a variety of devices, facilitating people to be effective in their functional capability, regardless of location.