New collaboration strategies are needed in order to match the rise in need for a mobile workforce. According to Insight Research, 67% of all workers used mobile and wireless computing. Forrester verifies the claim with a slightly smaller number, coming in at 62% of the information workforce working in multiple locations during a typical workweek.
A mobile workforce has many benefits for business. It’s not only a way to maintain production levels during inclement weather and increased performance during the family flu season, but it also means employees who are on the road or on an important project can access and provide feedback on pertinent and timely information and data.
Many new collaboration technologies are just surfacing; so many of us do not have plans in place to accommodate the growing mobile workforce needs. We can often be overwhelmed in considering the right solution to address the needs of our employees.
The first step in building a mobile collaboration strategy is to identify areas of need for your employees.
We recognize every business has different needs, so we encourage everyone to perform their own assessment of their workforce against their business needs. However, Forrester Research determined there were five important groups to focus on when building your collaboration strategy.
The second step is identifying the primary needs. What typically occurs with remote workers is a mental disconnection from what is going on at headquarters and adjusting to changes as they happen. This can be circumvented with current technologies that enhance teamwork. Sharing is an integral part of teamwork and the more connected the experience, the more opportunities you give your employees to move as a cohesive unit and build shared meanings, making the work environment more efficient and effective. You may come up with more primary needs, but we find this is typically the first thing most businesses want to address.
After determining the type of employees and the business needs that are enhanced by better collaboration strategies, the final step is deciding on the technology. We know that smartphones are on the rise and the mainstreaming of tablets in business is just around the corner. By the by, according to Nielsen, 77% of tablets users report using their tablet for actions they would have used a laptop or desktop. It appears inevitable that delivering a plan with a solid mobile collaboration strategy will not only help the business move forward and assist employees who may need more access to their teams, but also distribute needed information in a more dynamic and on-demand manner.
Collaboration Technology Map
|Business Need||Solution||Microsoft Technology|
|Internal communication||Email, Telephone||Exchange, Lync|
|Team meetings||Audio & Video conferencing||Lync|
|Project sharing||Intranet site||SharePoint|
|Company-wide information||Intranet site, Email||SharePoint, Exchange|
|Relationship building||Instant messenger||Lync|
|External Collaboration||Client communication||Extranet, Email, Instant Messenger, Conferencing||SharePoint, Exchange, Lync|
|Customer service||Intranet, Email, Telephone||SharePoint, Exchange, Lync|
Table A – Collaboration map