We've all heard it for years now: IT channel types throwing out terms like "real-time teamwork" and "collaboration" as if they're going out of fashion. Nice and buzz-wordy, proactive and very much up-and-at-em, but what's the real, actionable message here? Is something as apparently simple as getting a team pulling in the same direction really just about the ‘how’, or is it still the ‘what’ that matters?
Naturally, both the journey and the goal are important, and here at DisplayNote, we're all about the tools -- the nuts and bolts that go together to help people get things done. Our business is founded on knowing collaboration from top to bottom, not just as a ‘nice to have’ trendy bolt-on to an existing product in need of a new sales hook, it’s as much our product as it is our M.O.
We want the tools we make and the tools we use to be as invisible to the user as possible: when the technology itself becomes the focus, we are off task.
That's why we recognise that firms, colleges, schools and individuals need tools that actually suit the way they work, study and research – not dropped-in ‘solutions’ that impose whole new ways of operating.
We build products that we will use, we recognize that this isn’t something that every person or organization has the luxury of, which is where we step in and provide that, tools that work exactly how we need them to and not needing to have a team adapt their patterns to suit the tool.
Of course, things are rarely as easy as they sound, but we truly believe in the value of focused collaboration done right. Tools that work. First time. Every time.
Being able to work in real-time on anything, with anyone, anywhere; removing productivity bottlenecks; enhancing efficiency to a point at which going back is inconceivable; that's our mission and driving force, whether to the benefit of the individual or a team as a whole.
Behind that is the rather abstract notion of ‘sharing’. For many folk, social media is a big part of their online activity, but in the team context sharing now means inviting a colleague or a classmate to work in the here and now on the latest project, despite not necessarily being in the same hemisphere. That's powerful. And that's definitely not email.
Technology as a tool, as in collaboration, should be passive… it should become the silent background through which actions happen. As for the digital method through which we all operate – communication, video, messaging, sharing and editing – technology should facilitate this with as few boundaries when we are apart as when we are together.
Rachel Botsman, an expert in collaborative consumption spoke at TEDxSydney: “We now live in a global village, where we can mimic the ties that used to happen face to face… Real time technologies are taking us back to doing what we’ve always done, but in dynamic and appealing forms.”
Bringing together different skills, resources, methods, experiences and backgrounds – all transformative approaches enabled by collaboration tools. The sky, or, more appositely, the cloud, is now the limit.
We're already at the point where collaboration tools have to play a significant factor in any IT department's plans, not to mention budget. Ever-increasing numbers of organisations are coming to realise not just what the dictionary says collaboration can mean, but what collaboration implies for their own way of working.
The two fields of collaboration and productivity are important to engage with, particularly in business, but how often does a tool arise that spans both?
Just as the telephone, the fax, the internet and the cell phone became significant tools for advancing business in their time, we all need to take a hard look not just at if we are to adopt collaborative technologies, but at which of the glittering landscape of shiny new tools best suit all our needs.