Are collaboration solutions finally serious about simplicity?

DisplayNoteBlog Jan 5, 2018

Most CIOs will agree that a disproportionate amount of their resources go into maintaining and supporting the current business – “keeping the lights on” IT projects. And very little resource is allocated to future growth and critical business transformation.

One reason why this is the case is because IT systems are so complex. Too often, businesses are tied to complex IT systems that have become even more difficult after years of highly fragmented IT environments.

Dion Hinchcliffe explains this fragmentation in his blog on digital strategy, and how processes and systems become siloed and complex.

The less complex your entire IT environment is, the more room for innovation and growth that can transform your organisation.

As Ken Segall, (previously Ad Agency Creative Director to Steve Jobs) once said, “simplicity has the power to transform a business in the most profound ways”.

And the proof is in the pudding – Apple has won a fanbase of very loyal customers, all the while sticking to very simple products and branding.

Collaboration solutions

Only in the past couple of years have collaboration solutions got the recognition they deserve. Collaboration in the workplace increases productivity, boosts staff morale, and drives innovation within a company. People are more focused around the same goal, and combine their skillsets to help achieve it.

Collaboration tools can range from a simple whiteboard in a meeting room or conference call, right up to workflow software or online workspaces.

Despite all this new technology today, the humble whiteboard is still prevalent in many businesses. Why? Because of its simplicity.

When providers are creating collaboration solutions, they need to make them as simple and user-friendly as the whiteboard.

But simplicity isn’t simple. It takes commitment and energy – and complexity can creep in at any moment.

Again, taking Apple as an example. An iMac or iPhone is not a simple product. Think of the amount of different processes and apps running simultaneously. But the experience for users is simple and their products work alongside their sister products seamlessly. And this is the key thing.

Times are changing

There is no such thing anymore as a “traditional workplace”. No two organisations have the same staff structure, same processes, or same location.

This is where simple collaboration can get more difficult. As Hinchcliffe explains, every department and function now seem to have existing vertical systems – such as project management, sales, or customer care. Within these vertical systems there are numerous different elements, such as social media, messaging, collaboration, sharing, content editing etc.

These complex elements can lead to issues, such as inaccessibility. Unless you have a licence and are using the exact same app, chances are poor that you can collaborate with someone unless they are using the exact same toolkit and environment.

What does this mean for you?

You may already have a collaboration solution in your organisation that works well for your employees. However, if you have not yet started on your collaboration journey, here are some things to take into consideration to help choose the best possible solution for you, and one that will provide simplicity to your employees:

  • Ensure connecting/joining a collaboration session is straightforward – no one wants to download additional software every time they wish to collaborate. Also, it shouldn’t ask for a lot of information to log-in, or take a long time to simply get connected. Ensure whatever solutions you shortlist have a quick and simple method of connecting.
  • Ensure that you can share and collaborate on any type of content – some solutions will only allow certain file types to be shared, or you can only collaborate in real-time on a handful of file types. This is a barrier to true collaboration, and will only cause frustration within employees, who will end up resorting back to email tag as their form of collaboration.
  • Eliminate all physical barriers to collaboration – device types, complex networks, location – none of these should prevent collaboration from happening. People should be able to use the device of their choice, connect with colleagues, and share and collaborate on content, with no restrictions.

The three points above should be enough for you to create a strong shortlist for a collaboration solution of choice.

Providers should put process at the centre of their development. Product and engineering teams should be in constant communication throughout the design and development cycle, to ensure their solution is as intuitive and seamless as possible.

Remember – simplicity is key. Everyone loves convenience. The best solutions are those that you don’t even realise you’re using. They’re simple.

Next steps…

At DisplayNote we aim to create a world where the sharing of content is as easy as saying ‘hello’. Our solutions range from wireless presentation solutions, to collaborative infinite workspaces, but all have simplicity at their core.

Request your free trial of Montage wireless presentation solution and see yourself how simplicity has the power to transform your business in the most profound ways.

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