The Critical Role of Collaboration for Your Company

A convergence of technologies is set to increase our capacity to interact by a factor of between two and five in the near future. This enhanced interactive capacity will create new ways to configure businesses, organize companies, and serve customers, and have profound effects on the structure, strategy, and competitive dynamics of industries. – McKinsey & Co.

Organizations have spent a considerable amount of time and money over the last decade focused on improving efficiencies, streamlining operations and driving out costs associated with manual processes. The question is whether all this automation has fully prepared our enterprises for the growing demands and expectations of today’s customers.

IT organizations have delivered tremendous results. But the bar continues to reach new levels. It’s no longer enough to be efficient as lone enterprises. We are now moving into an era in which our ability to compete and perform revolves around our ability to effectively manage interactions across organizational and geographical boundaries

Globalization, specialization and technological change have made interactions increasingly pervasive in modern economies. Indeed, it’s estimated by McKinsey that 80% of all employment in the United States now involves participation in interactions as opposed to the extraction of raw materials or the production of finished goods.

Research indicates that sectors hiring in today’s difficult economy are seeking employees who tend to be engaged in complex interactions – ones who must exercise a high level of judgment and most likely are actively collaborating in teams.  “[T]he most complex type of interactions — those requiring employees to analyze information, grapple with ambiguity, and solve problems — make up the fastest-growing segment,” according to the firm.

Beyond the efficiencies associated with intra-enterprise automation, it’s now time to seize the opportunities associated with inter-enterprise collaboration and interaction. Collaboration technology will play a critical role in enhancing the quality and speed of analysis, decisions and actions. It will make it easier for individuals to engage in complex interactions to produce results.

As McKinsey puts it, “The use of technology to complement and enhance what talented decision makers do rather than to replace them calls for a very different kind of thinking about the organizational structures that best facilitate their work, the mix of skills companies need, hiring and developing talent, and the way technology supports high-value labor. Technology and organizational strategies are inextricably conjoined in this new world of performance improvement.”

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