2014-30-July-Teamwork.jpgWe work today in a world of unparalleled teamwork. Think back 10 years: most organizational projects were completed by people that worked together in the same location. Now collaboration makes it possible for teams to work together across time zones and locations -- communicating with partners internally and externally. Reaching out has never been so simple.

Technology has made such teamwork possible. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. The emergence of mobile and cloud computing have muddied the waters somewhat, making it far more difficult for IT departments to keep systems locked down and secure. So how do you take the confusion out of teamwork in our 24/7 connected world and make sure it delivers value for your organization? 

Questions of Access and External Collaboration

Collaboration is the lifeblood of the way we do business today. A recently study by AIIM titled "Content Collaboration and Processing in a Cloud and Mobile World" (free) highlighted the fact that businesses have been keen to embrace teamwork. 93 percent of the executives surveyed said they believed internal collaboration was either "crucial" or "very important" to their business, while 59 percent felt that external collaboration was just as important and 89 percent went so far as to say that a formal collaboration system is key to their business infrastructure.

That collaboration was perceived to be so important is no surprise, but how much are organizations actually collaborating?

It makes sense to provide project teams and individuals in an organization with a specific place to brainstorm and pool their resources. It inspires innovative thinking and can propel a business forward. So when the first on site team and document sharing applications appeared, replacing legacy intranets and rolling out document collaboration organization wide, users were more than eager to set up dens for their project teams.

This sounds great in theory, but two growing collaboration requirements emerged and left organizations scratching their heads. The first was how to let users outside the firewall into the content sharing environment. The second was how to provide access to collaborative content from mobile devices and allow remote participation in review workflows.

When a new wave of consumer cloud based content sharing tools appeared -- Dropbox, iCloud, Skydive, YouSendit and Google Drive -- they seemed to answer employee's needs. They offered intuitive interfaces and familiarity to employees who had used them outside the workplace. Many of them had a mobile first credo, which solved both of the collaboration needs outlined above. Project teams quickly adopted these services to share and communicate ideas, often without the IT department’s knowledge.

Taking the Confusion out of Teamwork

Some on premises collaboration and ECM system suppliers responded by creating cloud only versions of their products or extending their on premises system into a hybrid cloud model.

Others allowed these new cloud collaboration services to synchronize with established on premises ECM systems. All of these different models have sown confusion and indecision among users looking to progress while at the same time keeping the system secure and under control.