It’s time to re-think mobile collaboration, according to Leena Iyar, product marketing manager at app provider Moxtra
With the dramatic increase in the adoption of devices allowing users to work from anywhere, the workforce has become increasingly mobile.
However, the tools necessary to work more effectively while on the go still have a way to go. In fact, a Virgin Media Business survey from last year, revealed that almost half of UK companies are not giving remote workers the technology they need to do their job. There is real business value yet to be realized not only from enabling individual mobile workers to communicate, but also enabling project team members to collaborate more effectively. Project teams that take full advantage of true mobile collaboration will realize increases in innovation, agility, productivity and efficiency.
The mobile work style goes well beyond giving users access to tools such as instant messenger (IM) and email: it’s about enabling effective, content-based collaboration – whatever the individual’s location.
More than communication
Documents, data and information are central to knowledge work. When project teams work together, it is important that they are able to collaborate on this content effectively with multiple colleagues, seamlessly and in real time. Effective collaboration increases business efficiency, enabling quick turn-around and decision making. It keeps groups of people – literally – on the same page, whether they are working from a mobile device or laptop computer. Without effective collaboration tools, mobile time can be ‘dead’ time: levels of collaboration can suffer or team members can be excluded from communications and decisions. Many tools and solutions are available, but not all of them do the job properly, so demand for more effective collaboration technology is growing.
Collaboration is an area where the phrase ‘two heads are better than one’ rings especially true. Enabling better collaboration centres on innovative ways to communicate. For example, video allows face-to face interaction when employees are working remotely: it’s easier to get a point across when communicating in this way. At the same time, chat tools can enable quick-fire communication and allow groups to collaborate over a document in a digital workspace. Using the right tools, it is possible to share the screen while speaking with multiple colleagues at the same time.
From business to e-learning, collaboration around content has multiple different applications – and there is no doubt that it has the potential to bring real benefits across the business. For example, marketing is just one area where collaboration increases agility both internally and externally. This is especially relevant within a social media team: crafting one successful tweet can require 100 emails after edits and approvals – an activity that can be made much more efficient using effective collaboration.
Collaboration on the move
From partner events through to client meetings and trade shows, an agile business is constantly on the move. But without optimal communication tools, making effective decisions and hitting deadlines can be a challenge. When using mobile devices, workers often find themselves without access to important data and information, and unable to meet the deadlines set by the business.
In order to keep business moving while on the move, employees must be able to view documents as well as edit content and communicate with each other in one place. They require easy access to critical data along with the means to send information to teams. This is where content collaboration on mobile devices is critical: the more workers can accomplish on their smartphones and tablets, the more quickly they can keep business moving forward. When content collaboration is supported across devices – whether mobile, desktop or laptop – nothing needs to stop when employees are not in the office. Content is accessible and communication can continue, whatever the location of the members of the team.
Collaboration apps in the cloud
Collaboration software and applications are increasing both convenience and effectiveness by enabling employees to carry on working and communicating seamlessly, regardless of device.
This is delivered through cloud technology, which adds flexibility by enabling access to shared files and documents, whether in the office, working from home, or out travelling to meet a business partner. Using these tools, colleagues can communicate in real time, working from any location on any device. There is no longer any need to worry about deadlines coinciding with out of office time.
A new approach
It is time to think about a new approach to mobile collaboration. Effective collaboration centres on content as well as communication, and require tools that allow effective, real time and seamless interaction with multiple colleagues – such as uploading and annotating documents and sharing ideas via voice clips. It increases business efficiency and agility, enabling new methods of working by keeping everyone and everything accessible at all times. Great mobile collaboration tools are becoming available, but they must work seamlessly across all devices so that content is always fully compatible, whichever device is at hand.
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