For the office, workers collaboration has often meant a mix of formal meetings supplemented by casual chats around the photocopier or coffee machine. But in the modern world workforces are increasingly dispersed and may not see each other face to face for long periods, if at all.
This has led to a boom in the use of collaboration tools. The market for these is set to be worth almost $60 billion by 2023. This is changing the way we communicate with our colleagues and is also affecting the nature of work itself.
In the past collaboration tools like Skype and Slack have centred on either voice or instant messaging. With the widespread availability of fast internet connections for people working from home or remote offices, though, more options are now available.
As more businesses switch to using a wholesale VoIP termination provider such as www.idtexpress.com/blog/2018/04/27/wholesale-voip-termination-choosing-a-provider/, it becomes easier to integrate voice calling with other apps at minimal cost. Video calling and video meetings are now popular tools. It’s also increasingly possible to link collaboration into other office tools so that you can share files and know who has worked on them and made modifications, for example. They can be tied into project management applications too.
Of course, nothing ever stands still in the world of technology, and that’s true of collaboration just as much as anything else. There’s an increasing trend towards as-a-service applications delivered from the cloud. This makes it easier to roll out collaboration services to users with the minimal need to install software on endpoints other than, perhaps, a generic client.
Another major impact in future is likely to come from AI. This will make it easier to automate workflows and make collaboration more effective. Current AI offerings are still in their early stages, but it is definitely a development that is worth monitoring.
It is vital for organisations to have a clear understanding of what their staff needs from collaboration tools. Failure to do so is likely to lead to the adoption of unauthorised ‘shadow’ IT as people find the tools that best enable them to do their work. Proscribing the use of certain tools is not an answer here. It’s more important that you find a tool that works for your teams and encourage them to use it to the full.