In its simplest form, collaboration is the act of working together to achieve a common goal. In the world of Cloud Computing and hosted telephony, collaboration has come to refer to a set of tools or applications that facilitate it.

Successful collaboration, not just within your business but up and down the supply chain, can bring with it a wide range of benefits for organisations of all sizes. Small and medium-sized organisations, perhaps, have more to gain from effective collaboration than their enterprise-class competitors; as harnessing the benefits of collaboration can help level the playing field in a competitive environment.

Benefits of Collaboration

In essence, the benefits of effective collaboration come down to three core components:

  • Costs
  • Productivity 
  • Customer service

Cost savings can be realised by collaboration with stakeholders up and down the supply chain. Real-time communication with a dispersed workforce or market mean time and distance are no longer a barrier to business. Immersive, engaging interactions can take place via video conferencing, reducing travel time and expenses.

Productivity enhancements come from making better use of the working day; eliminating down-time. The decision-making process is much faster as stakeholders have real-time access to information; improving response times and business agility.

The combined effects of lower costs, improvements in responsiveness and access to essential data and applications have a positive impact on customer service levels.

As more and more UK organisations embrace remote working, collaboration tools enable geographically diverse workers to access business-critical data and applications anywhere, any time and on any device.

More powerful devices, greater 4G coverage and ubiquitous broadband services have seen real-time communications (Skype, IM, WebEx) begin to replace any-time communications (email, voicemail) as the media of choice.

As we move further into the world of big data, organisations need to be able to turn information into intelligence (via analysis) and then into action (via application).