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Collaboration increases efficiency, enables smarter decision-making and enhances the customer experience, directly impacting the bottom line.

Collaboration is one of the hottest buzzwords in business right now. The current emphasis on collaboration may have arisen out of a need to facilitate communication among mobile and remote workers. However, it is also spawning a recognition of the role of collaboration in long-term business success.

Articles and blog posts that discuss collaboration typically talk about video conferencing, instant messaging and other communication tools. While it’s true that these tools have helped to remove some of the barriers to collaboration, they are only tools.

At its most basic level, collaboration simply means that two or more people are working together to achieve some common business benefit. It is often applied to teams of skilled specialists who come together to complete a major project or solve a complex problem.

When you bring together the best and brightest in an organization, the possibilities are virtually limitless. Collaboration helps organizations capitalize on those possibilities by improving team productivity, efficiency and alignment through effective communication and information sharing.

Backed by Research

Back in 2007, the Concours Institute and the Cooperative Research Project of London Business School conducted a major study of collaboration. The researchers found that the most successful teams were large and diverse, comprising highly educated specialists working virtually. Without collaboration, however, those same qualities actually made it more difficult for teams to work together.

The researchers found that complex tasks may require 100 or more team members, but cooperation breaks down in teams larger than 20 people. The disparate viewpoints of diverse teams can spark new ideas, but people are less likely to share those ideas with others who are, in essence, strangers. Experts are needed to solve complex problems, but they often conflict with one another. And while virtual teams can work together regardless of location, different cultures, languages and time zones can impede progress.

Collaboration technologies can help overcome these impediments, but only if they are selected and implemented strategically. Tools should be simple to use, without complex downloads, setup and passcodes. Phone, video and audio conferencing, instant messaging, presence, and file sharing should be integrated in a common platform that enables users to manage collaborative tasks through a single interface. By replacing balky and complex tools with a well-designed platform, organizations can reap the business benefits that collaboration has to offer.

Benefits of Collaboration

Done right, collaboration can directly impact on the bottom line in three primary ways. First, it makes business processes more efficient by putting everyone on the same page. Everyone knows their role and responsibilities, as well as the end goal and how to achieve it. Errors, and the time and resources required to fix them, are dramatically reduced.

Collaboration enables smarter decision-making by leveraging each employee’s strengths. The barriers between business silos disappear and geographic location becomes a non-issue. information is accessible to all who need it. It also leads to more satisfied customers because employees become more accessible, and problems are resolved more quickly

To turn collaboration from a buzzword into a competitive advantage, organizations need technology that unifies all communications channels within the same platform. IPC ha a proven track record of success helping organizations leverage collaboration technologies to improve how they do business by enabling teams to work together as one cohesive unit.