It’s clear that businesses are looking for collaboration technology, but it’s up to the tech decision maker to help their business or org understand what to install. Here are some tips for pitching collaboration technology in the workplace.
Fitting Collaboration into a Workflow
Collaboration is simply the sharing of ideas. The technologies offered for collaboration should all be geared around making it easier to share an idea, or helping to clarify that idea. The conversation should begin with communication.
“The idea is to look at how a business uses its workflow,” says Chris Feldman, product manager at NEC Display Solutions. “You want to see how users work and then show them how much more efficient it is to use this technology.”
Once the structure of a particular workflow is understood, you can begin to introduce technology that will aide in that workflow.
For an organization that is constantly sharing and working on files between different employees or departments, a cloud-sharing collaboration display would be a huge benefit. They can dynamically share content, and with some systems they can even have two employees in different locations work in the same document in real time.
Organizations that have employees working remotely could benefit from huddle-space videoconferencing systems. This way employees can get more face-to-face time with one another and still enjoy the benefits of work-life balance.
This can help with talent retention without sacrificing collaboration between employees.
Let’s say the organization offers creative services – anything from architecture firms to marketing teams for example. Collaboration can be further improved in a highly collaborative field by introducing an interactive whiteboard.
Sessions can be recorded. Applications can be brought in. When sessions are completed the brainstorming information can be saved and sent out to the team. It makes for a more dynamic environment.
Convincing the Higher-Ups
There isn’t always a clear-cut return on investment with a collaboration system. The impact won’t necessarily be laid out in dollars and cents. Instead, collaboration technology is about improving processes to lead to better interaction between employees.
It’s about boosting collaborative efforts to get a better overall experience – which leads to better work and better outcomes.
Take that interactive whiteboard we discussed. A customer might ask why they should pay for such a collaborative device when the analog whiteboard with a price point at a fraction of an interactive display works just fine.
“Once you build a structure for what their workflow is, you check off one-by-one how it actually helps them,” says Feldman.
“With our Infinity Board, it comes with a powerful i7 computer. You can load something like SolidWorks and you can connect that Windows PC to a server securely. Now that file can be pulled up on the device while you have all the engineers, product managers, project managers, whomever in the room. You can have a discussion, talk about it, move it around, annotate, move into videoconferencing to bring in a third party involved with it, and those kinds of things.
“Very quickly you can build on the efficiencies that this technology brings that just isn’t possible with the standard whiteboard people are used to,” says Feldman.
Customize for Your Company
Once you’ve better understood the workflow of your org, it’s time to choose specific products. This is where you need to find what makes your organization work and tailor the collaboration solutions accordingly.
“The CB series utilizes a built-in chip, so it’s very simple and straightforward. It’s designed to not only be easy to use, but robust,” says Feldman.
“If you’re used to using conferencing systems, it’s something you can get a lot of use out of. But if you’ve never touched it before, it’s not intimidating, which is also a huge thing. Technology is only as good as people who are willing to use it. The Infinity Board might be something that’s a little intimidating.”
Take into account your unique needs. Don’t just try to pitch the most robust (or most expensive) solution. Find collaboration solutions that will fit into that workflow and get employees excited to actually use the technology. If they aren’t using it, then collaboration isn’t improved.