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FCW : August 30, 2016
ExecTe c h If a spreadsheet program was the killer app for the personal computer and GPS was the killer app for the smartphone, then collaboration software is the killer app for the cloud. Collaboration software enables managers to keep employees engaged and focused on shared tasks in an era defined by mobile and remote employees, pervasive network access, an explosion in the number of mobile devices and an exponen- tial increase in their capabilities, and CIOs struggling to keep up with the shadow apps employees bring into the workplace. The trick to effectively using col- laboration software is understanding that it can do more than what it says in the documentation. It can enable new, unanticipated business process- es that can make teams even more effective. But to take advantage of these new capabilities, managers need a light touch. Why it matters Let’s recall why the internet was invent- ed in the first place: so that government agencies, the military and academia could collaborate. Billions of cat pho- tos later, that hasn’t changed. What has changed are the network resources and computing power avail- able for the ever more sophisticated software tools that support that col- laboration. As a result, increasingly robust communications-enabled busi- ness processes allow teams to work together more seamlessly. For instance, document control can easily become a nightmare when 10 people at four locations in three time zones need to create one white paper with text, tables and graphics — which includes having somebody edit it, getting authors to review and accept changes, and having a senior manager and general counsel sign off on it. Older versions get lost or overwritten, and updates pass each other in email. However, if everyone shares a single version in the cloud and every change is time-stamped with the modifier’s name, then less time would be wasted and the paper would be released on schedule with all the necessary approvals. “Even elements of our videos can run several [gigabytes],” said Matthew Borten, who leads multimedia content development for the Federal Aviation Administration’s Creative Services Group. “There was no convenient way to transfer those files” among the group’s designated non-IT server, remote users, external sources or even managers like Borten, who are tethered to the FAA’s IT infrastructure. The fundamentals According to No Jitter, an online journal that focuses on unified com- munications, the collaboration space is where four taxonomies intersect: 1. Enterprise social 2. Project management 3. Business communication 4. Document storage It’s at this crossroads that players such as Slack, Huddle and SharePoint live. Those packages streamline proce- dures by allowing team members to share editing permissions on a docu- ment and store reference materials in a drive or cloud area to which they all have access. The documents can be tagged for ease of sorting, filter- ing, sharing and general knowledge management. Convincing your team to love collaboration software BY WILLIAM FREEDMAN The benefits can be dramatic, but picking a solution is more complicated than just comparing features August 30, 2016 FCW.COM 23 SHUTTERSTOCK 0830fcw_023-028.indd 23 8/9/16 2:40 PM
August 15, 2016
September 15, 2016