Just as a bridge is useless without a destination, so collaboration is of no use without a clear business problem. Or in the pithy words of a senior IT manager at a national retailer "Collaboration is a means, not an end". However, as I talk to business leaders about collaboration platforms (e.g. datatooth, Jive, Yammer, LinkedIn) I find too many bridges to nowhere.
Statistics Source: Certified Lean Practitioner Manual by Excel Partnership, Inc. in Southbury, CT.
In order to avoid building such bridges, leaders must first identify a business problem. Then they must look for ways collaboration tools could to solving a portion of that problem. For example, at the May 2015 Minnesota PMI (Project Management Institute) chapter event, Solutions4Business Consultant and process improvement expert, Mark Hehl, stated that over 50% of business activities simply add cost to the organization and create no business value.
Such non-value adding activities likely include unproductive meetings where no decisions are made or legacy processes that have outlived their usefulness. However, the point is not to drill deep into this particular statistic, but to point to it as an example of a business problem to solve. Practically, this means rather than getting excited about one of the 70+ project management collaboration tools, the focus should be on business problems.
What problems is your organization facing today and who on your teams can help solve them? Let's start by answering this fundamental question before we jump on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest collaboration tool. Get a complementary business consultation to ensure your organizational collaboration efforts and are on the right track.
About the author: Joab Meyer is a guest author on the Solutions4Business Insights blog. You can follow Joab and his updates by visiting the author page here.