Collaboration – Oh, You Mean Document Sharing?
Collaboration was a big winner in the Concept Searching fourth annual survey results, SharePoint and Office 365 State of the Market. The importance of collaboration made a significant leap compared with last year’s survey results, where only 16% of respondents felt that collaboration was a priority. This year the percentage jumped to 60.2%
SharePoint is still best suited as a document-centric collaboration portal, but this strength does make it appealing for migrating to the cloud, to reach mobile and disconnected users, and to improve communication and collaboration, which is seen as a high priority across the board. I know, I know – you think SharePoint is a development platform, but let’s not go there now.
Interestingly, slightly more enterprises are now using SharePoint for enterprise content management and document management than last year. In retrospect, this isn’t surprising. Organizations can leverage SharePoint without expending money to buy, install, and deploy enterprise content or document management vendor solutions That makes sense. You might as well leverage what you have, and maximize SharePoint’s strengths.
The issue with collaboration is that it is difficult to define. Collaboration can include instant messaging, project management, document sharing and editing, video, social networking, and calendars, to name but a few functions. Microsoft’s strength is primarily centered on enterprise content management or document management, focusing on document sharing features, such as real-time coauthoring, team sites, access rights, and document sets.
Jumping on the collaboration bandwagon does not help fix poor knowledge sharing. The objective should be to utilize collaboration tools in order to contribute value to an organization by improving business processes. A recurring issue is end user adoption. If the tools available don’t make end users’ jobs easier, faster, or more meaningful, then they will not use them.
This approach also aligns with the digital workplace, and can improve process performance, and encourage innovation. Speaking of collaboration, whatever happened to knowledge management?
How do you define collaboration?