Where once digital collaboration might have meant little more than copying people into emails or a dependency on complex, enterprise IT systems, it's now more likely to incorporate a number of different apps and platforms. The explosion in these tools has led to an incredible range of formats and approaches, but how do we pull together what we need in order to achieve our collaboration goals?
If, like me, you run a small business then you probably don’t have a dedicated IT department or racks of computer hardware in multiple data centres around the globe. But, even without vast resources, human or capital, you can still make use of IT systems and services on a par with those used by large organisations, and all you need is a decent internet connection and some run-of-the-mill devices to connect to them. This is possible thanks to cloud computing, which is fast becoming the de facto standard method for delivering and receiving IT services. But what is cloud computing?
Lloyds is a Founder Partner of Go ON UK - a UK initiative to make our nation the most digitally skilled in the world. Why? Because research shows that when companies embrace online skills, they increase turnover and become more efficient. And when UK organisations prosper, we all benefit from a stronger economy.
Customer Relationship Management or CRM has been used in a business to manage customer interactions for some time now. CRM is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and potential future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service and technical support in to one easy to understand programme.
Flexibility and smarter working definitely seem to be ‘in’ at the moment. However, there are mistakes you can make whilst managing a remote workforce. Let’s assume you have the technology sorted out – what else can go wrong?
1. Out of sight, out of mind
Collaborative Consumption, or The Sharing Economy, is nothing new. But new online platforms have made it easier and faster to facilitate peer-to-peer exchanges. The overall effect is an increasing value being placed on the more efficient use of resources, and the promotion of access over ownership.
So what’s this all about and what does it mean for businesses?
The rise of Collaborative Consumption
The expansion of technology over the past few decades has had a lasting impact on businesses and how they are now run. Where before, diaries and schedules were kept on paper and in Filofaxes, we now carry them around on our phones in our pockets from meeting to meeting. They sync seamlessly with our laptops and tablets without us even having to tell them to do so; so whenever we log in to one of our devices, they’re up-to-date and they all know what the other one is doing but more importantly, what we should be doing.
Flexibility is everything, we keep getting told. Working smarter and occasionally working from places other than the office is what people need to do if they wish to remain profitable; we absolutely require a new work culture.
Launching new services and products can be a time-consuming, expensive business. What’s worse, traditional methods, involving extensive research, planning and development might actually deliver an end result with no future in the marketplace.
To understand why this might be the case it’s worth looking at the environment most businesses are operating in and highlighting some of the key trends.
Change, complexity and individuality
Whilst it is true that some people simply cannot divorce themselves from the workplace because of the type of work they do, high speed connections to the internet, such as superfast broadband and 4G, are enabling the majority of us to do business remotely with ease. Of course this freedom is a major change for most workers and needs to be managed carefully to maximise the benefits and avoid any obvious pitfalls.