Let’s work together

Collaboration in business bolsters the bottom line, but requires the right technology and easy-to-use collaborative tools


The Harvard Business Review recently identified a serious problem. Companies that get better at what they do will slowly stop collaborating. Staff get obsessed by their own niche and get isolated. They stop sharing ideas with colleagues. It can get so bad that individuals treat clients as “their property” and won’t bring in colleagues to help even when there is a clear benefit in doing so.

For example, in a law firm, a patent lawyer may sit just yards from a tax expert. Yet they may fail to introduce their clients to the tax expert, even though both the clients and the law firm would profit.

But what happens to firms who overcome this issue? The Harvard Business Review article’s author, Heidi K. Gardner, fellow of Harvard Law School, looked at the effect on professional services firms who promoted collaboration. The results were remarkable.

Collaboration by partners increased profits. If the collaboration crossed international borders, then profits increased further. The more countries involved, the bigger the leap in profits. Collaboration increased profit per partner. Interestingly, a partner who contributed to serving a colleague’s clients, sell more services to their own clients.

“Why?” asked Dr Gardner.  “When you team up with colleagues, they better understand what you have to offer and that knowledge makes them more likely to refer work to you down the road.” The data shows that the payback referral typically came within a year from one in six colleagues. Not bad.

Clients benefit hugely from collaboration. They get the extra expertise brought by the new faces. And clients become more loyal. Dr Gardner found that clients become “owned… by the firm rather than controlled by one partner, reducing the risk that a departing professional will take that client with them”.

Corruption is reduced. It is far harder to hide misdoings when colleagues are working together on the same project. Enough proof?

With such a broad list of benefits, it is worth asking why firms so often struggle to work together effectively. A big answer is technology. Collaboration tools may exist. But so many are fiddly to use or require lessons, leaving potential users out in the cold.

The message is this: if you want to boost collaboration and reap all the rewards, you need to supply tools which are easy to use. Those tools must do this while offering all the functions needed to get staff working with each other and with clients.

Powwownow’s suite of tools has this in mind. The firm is known for hosting conference-calls. With no contract and no obscure charges or billing, guests simply pay the cost of their own call. The service is hugely popular. It boasts a 97 per cent recommendation rate.

The quality is significantly superior to many rival streaming services – important when conveying a professional demeanour

Since the company’s acquisition by PGi in 2013, Powwownow has the ability to offer its parent company suite of products in a simple and effective way. These include simple collaboration tools for document sharing, screen sharing and instant messaging.

Powwownow’s iMeet service is a virtual meeting room for up to 125 guests. They can work together, whether they are in the same building or working in different continents.

iMeet allows users to share their screens in crystal-clear resolution. The host can pass control to a guest, so they can present or talk colleagues through the nuances of a document.

The video-chat is in high-definition quality. Since most communication is non-verbal, this makes meetings more productive and engaging. The quality is significantly superior to many rival streaming services – important when conveying a professional demeanour. The video-chat service can also be integrated with large-screen video conferencing equipment, making it ideal for enabling meeting room conversations.

The iMeet meeting room can be personalised. Guests can upload a photo, a biography and choose a background. Integrated social media apps add a lively extra dimension to communication.

Perhaps the biggest unique selling point is the ease of use. There is no downloading for guests, they simply log-in via a web browser and start work immediately. This means meetings can be scheduled at a moment’s notice, without needing the approval or assistance of IT staff, who would otherwise need to evaluate and approve the collaboration software before installation. Naturally, iMeet is multi-platform, working across PC, laptop, and most tablet and mobile devices.

The iMeet package gives all firms, from cost-sensitive small and medium-sized enterprises to multinationals with complex needs, the perfect way to work collaboratively. The ease of use means clients are more likely to request meetings and the complete nature of the toolset means even the most intricate projects can be addressed in depth.

The benefits bestowed by working collaboratively are many. Firms that know how to combine the talents of their colleagues are even proven to survive better in a downturn, according to the Harvard Business Review article.

Staff and clients want to work together in real-time. All they need is the right service to get on with the job.

Find out more about iMeet by Powwownow

Visit www.powwownow.co.uk/Web-Conferencing/iMeet or call 0203 398 1919

 
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Jason Downes, managing director of Powwownow, says:

“iMeet allows people to share their screen and video-chat, working with colleagues anywhere in the world. Early-adopters of iMeet have been recruitment managers and HR directors, as the industry looks for smarter ways to become more efficient in recruiting the best possible talent. We are extremely excited to be able to offer iMeet to businesses, enabling people to work anywhere, at any time on any device. It’s all about working smarter to get the job done.”