Non-integrated tools, like spreadsheets, are isolated from the core business system, making it difficult to monitor and measure progress. Integrated analytics and activity monitoring reveal additional insight into core processes that businesses need to close the feedback loop, creating ample opportunity for continuous improvement. This allows for the long-term focus to remain on "evolution" rather than "revolution." As Henry Ford's quote at the beginning of this article suggests, building a more collaborative organization is not a destination, but a journey. Properly monitoring and measuring progress will keep the organization on the right path.
Paper files have given way to centralized secure documents; inter-office mail has been replaced by instant messaging; and personal, paper-based calendars are giving way to shared digital calendars. The goal is to move away from storing valuable information in silos and toward one version of the truth that is available everywhere in a single repository. By capturing this information and making it visible to both internal and external stakeholders, companies can begin to identify which processes are repeatable, allowing them to increase efficiency over time.
A unified business strategy will push results to the bottom line and provide an advantage over the competition by strengthening ties to customers and suppliers and promoting efficiency and cost-prudency by replacing manual and paper-based processes with digital counterparts. Collaboration projects successfully help companies do more with less, work leaner and greener, with fewer resources and lower operating expenses. Becoming more collaborative is truly a process, and keeping an eye upon continuous improvement efforts is essential. By combining these basic principles with the right collaborative technology, an organization will definitely find itself working together more effectively. And like Henry Ford said, "Working together is success."