Social Collaboration's Year of Productivity
Frustrated with the amount of time it takes to get organized? You're not alone.

According to McKinsey, the average worker spends 19 percent of the work week searching for information. We spend so much time looking for emails, notes we scribbled down in a meeting and word docs we saved to our desktop, that it's impossible to stay on top of all the information we need to get organized -- and more importantly, to be productive. And if the coworkers you collaborate with daily are similarly disorganized, how will any work get done?

As more businesses and workers recognize this pattern and search for a solution, there are several trends that will emerge in 2014 to address productivity, social collaboration and worker accountability.

The New Wave of Social Collaboration Tools

While the first wave of social collaboration tools to hit the marketplace was about point features -- file sharing, communication, networking, etc. -- the new focus in the coming year will be on project management, completing goals and tasks, and collaborating to get work done efficiently.

Ideas, notes and thoughts have traditionally been scattered throughout email, paper and employee's heads. Once regarded as random materials, organizations will now begin to recognize them as invaluable corporate assets that need to be captured, organized, transferred and most importantly shared between team members. In the coming year, we’ll begin to see companies shift to social collaboration and workforce operations management tools to ensure effective social collaboration, especially as mobile technology pervades the enterprise.

Additionally, social collaboration and productivity enhancing tools specifically developed for business audiences will really come of age in 2014. We saw social networking tools like Jive start to penetrate the enterprise five years after tools like Facebook made individual social networking popular. Now that tools exist that can provide a better way to organize our digital lives, we'll see the emergence of social collaboration and workflow management tools penetrate the enterprise, following the same pattern as social networking tools, but with a distinct enterprise design.

Getting Things Done in the New Year

When these new social collaboration tools for the enterprise take hold, it means that real time talent management will finally become a reality. With the combination of social, mobile and cloud technologies as well as new SaaS applications that make it easy to share, manage and collaborate around tasks, goals and priorities, the ability to monitor and evaluate accountability on teams will reach a new level. Managers will now be able to easily measure team productivity, and award individuals and teams as appropriate for their successes.

Finally, 2014 will see the dawn of "smart knowledge management." This will mean that employees won't have to waste time hunting for information and searching through corporate content. Instead, analytics built into social collaboration and information storing tools will be able to deliver relevant information proactively to help workers accomplish their goals.

In the New Year, employees should be ready for a new brand of hybrid social collaboration and workflow management tools. This advanced technology -- combing social, cloud and mobile features -- will allow the dispersed workforce of today to better work together, significantly enhance productivity and proactively help teams find relevant knowledge. As a result, we'll see a new level of accountability that will allow managers to know exactly how much and how fast their team members are completing work.

Title image by grafvision (Shutterstock)