Posted by Winnie Melda on October 25th, 2018
In this age of global connectivity, companies need to create and manage collaboration environments sop that they can tap the knowledge as well as the expertise the employees, customers and partners have. Collaborative environments enable businesses to communicate, collaborate and coordinate the activities so as to accomplish their shared objectives. Collaborative environments are created from a variety of computer and communications technologies like instant messaging, discussion databases, e-mail, mobile communications, video or web conferences, and chat rooms among others. It is of crucial importance to create and effectively manage collaborative environments in businesses because it is by those environments that the success of organizations can thrive. When all the stakeholders in enterprises are collaboratively carrying out their duties, they understand that the success of the organization is a collaborative task. That also helps all the staffs understand the corporate goals and the roles they play in achieving those corporate objectives.
In many enterprises, collaborative environments are deployed to take advantage of the local cooperation to support a particular business unit or the processes of a distributed work. The collaboration at the local level entails working within a small group of the team such as a project team so as to accomplish some responsibility vested in the group or the team by the organization. The decisions of creating the local collaborations are decentralized and in case there is any technology that is used by that team or group, the group/team purchase it. The teams can use the collaboration environments and technologies to make sure that everything runs well within them. They use for instance the instant messaging and discussion databases to respond to events and accomplish their tasks in an effective manner (Morgan, 2012). Those teams also set their goals apart from the corporate requirements to accomplish given tasks. The leaders act as a link between the team and the corporate governance.
Intra-Organizational Collaborative Environment
The intra-organizational collaborative environments are deployed on an organization-wide and commonly managed and implemented by centralized groups. Even though some systems may expand from the local collaborations to become intra-organizational collaborative systems; mostly the information technology function is vested with the responsibility of making a decision on the specific collaborative software to leverage. The intra-organizational collaborations are being guided by the corporate goals and objectives, and the senior management normally guides them. The aim of these collaborative environments is to streamline the business processes so as to achieve greater efficiency and ensure there is increased productivity (Bititci et al., 2004). In a large part, these collaborative environments are aimed to ensure there is easy access to the enterprise-wide information and knowledge. There can also be integrated cross-enterprise processes to enable the enterprise to exploit the collaborative environments so that they can better deliver the desired customer service or to reduce the project completion cycles. It can allow the project work to be done remotely by several local collaborative environments within an organization.
The Extended Network Collaborative Environment
In the extended network collaborating, the organizations leverage their intra-organizational collaborative environment to extend the enterprise network to its suppliers, customers, and paralegals. At this level companies take advantage of their collaborative environment to functionality to cooperate and control their virtual value chain as they work with all the stakeholders within the network. They work together and exchange crucial information through such systems as the company website, the customer relationship management systems, video conferencing and other systems that span across this network (Bryson, Crosby & Stone, 2006). These collaborative environments are aimed at improving the effectiveness as well as the efficiency through the connection of partners and paralegals along the value chain. They integrate a range of processes like the customer demand forecasting or supply chain management. Creating cross-enterprise processes, as well as information exchange, makes an organization more profitable as compared to the ones that do not integrate the trading partners.
Importance of Deploying and Managing a Collaborative Environment
Access to Skills and Strengths
When organizations or departments within them collaborate, they can have the access to the skills and strengths of all the people involved in the collaborative environment. For instance, one may be struggling with the presentation skills although they understand the benefits and weakness of particular tasks. A collaborative environment can help that individual to share their knowledge and liaise with someone that can share or present their ideas in the most appropriate fashion (Bititci et al., 2004). The more people have involvement in a collaborative environment, the more they get to learn from each other.
Develop Employee Skills
A collaborative environment helps the organization and the employees to benefit as they can share information and ideas while working together (Kock, 2012). They also get to learn how others think, operate or negotiate. It gives the employees a better insight of the entire enterprise functions at a higher level other than their individual departments only. The skills that individual employees garner from the collaboration can be taken to their departments and bring great improvements and enhancements.
Faster problem Resolution and Innovation
Setting and managing a collaborative environment in organization accelerates the performance of duties and creates an environment for faster problems resolution and innovation (Marshall, 1995). It gives access to various individuals that have diverse skills and expertise thereby allowing them to come up with ideas as well as resolutions that they may not have through on their own.
The creation and management of a collaborative environment in the organization can enable the organization to accomplish vital projects in an efficient manner (Kock, 2012). When many departments and individuals are actively involved, there can be the distribution of work more evenly and efficiently to the ones that have time and expertise. Instead of one or few individuals working on a given attacks of activity for months, the work can have accomplishment within few days.
The need to share data and information as well as the need for collaboration in carrying out tasks in organizations makes it indispensable to create and manage collaborative environments. Organizations can create collaborative environments at team levels, within the organizations or across a wide range of partners and customers. The more the people that have participation in a given collaborative environment, the faster the tasks will have accomplishment. That makes it possible to achieve the targets at the team level and the level of the organization. The tasks are accomplished faster than when such a collaboration was lacking. The people also can access vital information that they did not have and thereby increase their knowledge and skills through the collaborative environment. The better management of the collaborative environment can help create efficiency in organizations, and thus, it should be encouraged.
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Bititci, U. S., Martinez, V., Albores, P., & Parung, J. (2004). Creating and managing value in collaborative networks. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, 34(3/4), 251-268.
Bryson, J. M., Crosby, B. C., & Stone, M. M. (2006). The design and implementation of Cross‐Sector collaborations: Propositions from the literature. Public administration review, 66(s1), 44-55.
Kock, N. F. (2012). Advancing collaborative knowledge environments: New trends in e-collaboration. Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.
Marshall, E. M. (1995). Transforming the way we work: The power of the collaborative workplace (p. 4). New York: American Management Association.
Morgan, J. (2012). The collaborative organization: A strategic guide to solving your internal business challenges using emerging social and collaborative tools. New York: McGraw-Hill.
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About the AuthorWinnie Melda
Joined: December 7th, 2017
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