Committing to a Culture of Collaboration

We all know that commitment is essential to the success of our personal relationships. Marriages and friendships only work when both people are committed to one another, the relationship, and working together. And thanks to a new report from the Aberdeen Group on “The Next Generation of Social Collaboration,” we know this kind of deep commitment to connection is also essential to the success of organizations—and the success of collaboration.

The Aberdeen Group surveyed 133 organizations with $10 million to $5 billion in annual revenue and identified the top-performing 20%. These were the organizations that were most successful at improving project profitability, achieving maximum productivity, responding faster to customers, and delivering projects on-time on on-budget. Then, they examined how their approach to collaboration differed from that of “average” and “laggard” organizations.

What they found: Winners aren’t lucking into it—they’re making organizational commitments to collaboration, embodying it in advanced tools and processes, and in the end, profiting from it.

Aberdeen saw quantifiable benefits from collaboration, but warns that “without actively committing to collaboration as a cornerstone of the organization, the full benefits of the next generation of collaboration tools will not be attained [….] If business leaders make it clear that teamwork and innovation is expected, and reinforce this expectation through the tools that are provided, the organization will reap greater benefits.”

Here’s what these winners are doing differently, start to finish, to maximize the value of collaboration:

  • Endorsing Collaboration:Best-in-class organizations are more 107% more likely to have a formal organizational initiative where collaboration is endorsed by executive leadership,
  • Formalizing Processes:Top businesses are 105% more likely to have formalized processes that capture the knowledge shared through collaboration, as well as processes that facilitate collaboration on new product and service innovations throughout the entire development life cycle,
  • Instituting Tools:Best-in-class organizations are 74% more likely to have implemented advanced collaboration tools and 75% more likely to have a platform that enables users to capture and disseminate content across the organization.
  • Utilizing Past Knowledge:Not only does collaboration help top-performers succeed in today’s projects, they use it to inform future projects—organizations with next-generation collaboration tools are 81% more likely to be able to reference past project performance when selecting new projects.

And it’s important to note that Aberdeen found that the advanced collaboration tools top-performers are using to get ahead are different, too: “These tools not only connect employees in different locations on a real-time basis, but also enable these employees to work in new ways.”

Overall, they’re more innovative, engaging, and interactive than previous tools. They connect employees in real-time, no matter what they’re doing—not just in meetings. They also retain information for later and make that information easily sharable. They offer multimedia file support, as well as desktop, web, and mobile support, “enabling employees to participate in collaboration in more flexible ways.”

And those quantifiable benefits? How much does instituting these advanced collaboration tools and techniques really matter? It turns out, quite a bit—especially, when organizations are struggling to compete, let alone get ahead. Compared to organizations without next-generation collaboration tools, organizations with them saw:

  • 38% more improvement in project profitability over the last year
  • 21% more projects completed early or on-time
  • 26% more employees exceeding annual performance metrics

Collaboration is becoming more and more important to the bottom line, and a real commitment to it with a collaboration-centric culture, processes, and tools, won’t just bring employees together, but will push organizations ahead.

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