So You Want to Collaborate?

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Collaboration

So You Want to Collaborate?

Collaboration is as unique as each individual. What I regard collaboration to be might never occur to you, and vice versa.

You may even define collaboration differently at different times, depending on the situation. Its span of activities can involve email – yes, email – communicating using any device, real-time co-authoring, SharePoint Team Sites, shared calendars, Skype, Office 365 Groups, video, instant messaging, social networking, and the list goes on.

The teams themselves are as varied as the methods used to collaborate. It often takes some fancy footwork to arrange teams or peers in a manner that facilitates and encourages positive outcomes.

Issues can result from diverse backgrounds, technical and sales collaboration, equality within the organization, personal workstyle, collaboration environment, who’s the leader and who’s the follower, and who gets the blame and who gets the gain. What about the grumblers who weren’t included? You don’t want to end up with a free-for-all.

From a management perspective, someone somewhere needs to manage the collaboration efforts and hopefully guarantee positive outcomes. Someone has to decide which teams are best suited to the project at hand.

Enter IT. The security of assets needs to be protected, both internally and externally. Specifically, when working with external stakeholders. How much information is based on the need to know? Is that information valuable or useless? This requires constant monitoring.

Collaboration can deliver great rewards, as well as end in a tailspin. But it requires careful thought on the goal and how it will be managed, evaluated, and executed in a secure manner.

Just like any other activity, the risks and the rewards must be identified. Although everyone seems to want to jump on the collaboration bandwagon, to achieve successful collaboration isn’t as easy as you may think. What has been your approach?

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