Investing in the right tools creates a unique opportunity to improve engagement and collaboration. However, such technology needs to be selected carefully and made to work hard if it is to have a measurable impact on business performance.
A 2015 survey conducted by Google for Work and Raconteur demonstrates that many companies have been willing to invest in new technology; however, unfortunately, some technologies aren’t providing the greatest return on investment. The trick is to identify the right tools that are appropriate for each business. And every business is different.
When respondents were asked to rate the most effective communication and technology innovations in the workplace to improve performance, there was no single technological tool that stood out from the rest. Webmail tools (14 per cent), file-sharing tools (10 per cent) and BI and analytics (12 per cent) ranked the highest, though a combination of several tools used at the same time proved the most effective way of working.
Businesses have yet to make the most of the tools that they already possess
The survey data shows that respondents tend to feel that the effectiveness of the tools they have at their disposal lags behind the level of collaboration. This implies that there is a need to improve the effectiveness of the tools, which should also boost the overall level of collaboration within a business.
In response to the question, “What could feasibly be done in your organization to increase the business impact of knowledge-sharing and collaboration?” respondents saw an investment in communications and knowledge-sharing technology (27 per cent) as the most important element to be improved. ‘A less hierarchal structure’ (19 per cent) and ‘support from senior staff’ (19 per cent) followed as the next most popular answers.
In addition, when asked to name the realistic measure that would have the biggest impact on knowledge-sharing and collaboration, investment in relevant technology came out on top. It was named most frequently as the #1 measure for business impact, and also appeared more in respondents’ lists of top three factors more than any other option.
Collaboration undoubtedly leads to job satisfaction, which in turn means that it is easier to attract and retain the best talent
The survey, though it has shown that businesses are increasingly investing in technology, highlights that there is still plenty of room for improvement as businesses have yet to make the most of the tools that they already possess, and invest in the tools that are most relevant and appropriate for their individual needs.
Overall, the survey’s findings show that collaboration undoubtedly leads to job satisfaction, which in turn means that it is easier to attract and retain the best talent. Management must also commit to and invest in a culture that enables employees to connect, share knowledge and do business remotely.
Case Study: Better meetings with The Weather Company
One media company that met the challenge of improving its use of communication technologies and alleviated difficulties caused by geographical separation in the process is The Weather Company.
Formerly known as The Weather Channel, the organization made a deliberate transformation from ‘media company’ to ‘technology business’, rebranding as The Weather Company in the process.
The company adopted Google Apps for Work, along with Chromebox for Meetings, the easy-to-use, high-definition video conferencing system that works seamlessly with Hangouts. In terms of reliability and ease of communication, it’s a decision that has already paid dividends. “Being able to see people’s faces when you can’t get on a plane, it’s so critical,” says Bryson Koehler, The Weather Company CIO. “Helping people and helping businesses make decisions, we can’t rest. And we can’t be down and we can’t be late.”
About the survey
This study of 258 North American business and IT leaders, produced by Raconteur and Google for Work, was conducted in Q1 2015.
Respondents were asked to complete an anonymous online survey about their beliefs and predictions around innovation and collaboration in the workplace. The individuals that responded to this survey represented a broad spectrum of industries in terms of both their size and main areas of activity.