Companies that use collaborative technologies arrive at decisions much faster than their counterparts who do not.
A cross-sectional study conducted by Canadian company SMART Technologies shows businesses that score highly in terms of their use of collaborative technologies reach consensus and innovate three times as fast as organisations that are hesitant to adopt technology.
This means tools such as web conferencing have the potential to increase productivity and help companies achieve market success.
The research looked at the technology collaboration practices of 2,500 companies. Companies that readily use technological tools are few and far between, and only 10 per cent of those surveyed derive significant value from them. In fact, at least 70 per cent of companies sit on the lower end of the spectrum and receive little or no return.
This is because just investing in technology collaboration alone is not enough. Organisations need to be proactive and manage the social aspect of implementing a completely new way of doing things. After all, it is a cultural change.
Here are four ways companies can get started and stay on the right track.
1. Plan ahead and define a clear strategy
Make sure staff understand that there is an organisation-wide shift towards using technology to communicate and connect. Ensure the office space reflects this change.
2. Stay connected
Implement changes so that a web conference or teleconference is seamless. Staff members who are telecommuting should be able to communicate, contribute and actively participate in meetings just like other staff.
3. Try informal learning methods
Manuals and policy guides are a great way to collate all that users need to know about a technology, but they are not read that often. People learn better when they get to try their hand at something new. So it is best to adopt a learning by doing policy.
4. Nominate tech reps
There are people who will understand the technology better than others when it is rolled out. Use their enthusiasm and knowledge to turn them into "power users" - staff can approach them for immediate help.