You’re a business analyst with an almost infinite supply of ideas and feedback, struggling with the practical limitations of sharing your thoughts. If collaboration is the lifeblood of innovation, then you may as well be an “innovampire,” desperately seeking access to that collaborative lifeblood before sunrise.
Are the written communication tools you use driving a stake through the heart of your collaboration efforts? Does written communication turn your collaboration into a nightmare before Christmas?
First, The Monstrously Ugly: Email
If your company is like most, email is the main form of written communication and the starting point for much collaboration. But email is problematic; it can be a sinkhole for precious time spent on reading, writing, and searching for information in email. In fact, email can be such a monster that some companies have taken the drastic approach of renouncing email.
One problem with sharing ideas through email is that, while it is persistent (in other words, it lasts in archive) it is not very transparent. For example, your idea starts an email thread among a few people who make a few comments back and forth, building some collaborative goodness. Fast forward to the next new hire, and all the back and forth on the issue is invisible to them, entombed in recipients’ accounts until someone remembers the thread, digs it up, and shares it with the new person.
Additionally, parallel email threads may confuse collaboration. If one person replies to all at nearly the same time as another, then further discussion happens without a merging of idea streams. The ideas that were left out are victims of email’s Jekyll-and-Hyde nature – helpful, but just as quickly transformed into a collaboration nightmare.
Collaboration platforms like SharePoint have the potential to produce great collaborative outcomes. These platforms are usually full of features that can enable collaboration, like wikis, message boards, and such. However, most people use collaboration platforms as if they were networked filing cabinets. Without care and attention, collaboration platforms end up a dusty crypt full of old material from people long gone.
Social tools like Yammer, Google+ Circles, and other social collaboration enablers can help drive away the monsters of collaboration inefficiency. Many of them will enable you to share information quickly, comment freely, chat, upload and exchange files
While I’m a fan of Yammer (a number of large enterprises use it, judging by the testimonials on the Yammer site), other platforms may suit you better. But whether you use Yammer or something else like tibbr or Google+, check out the power of social collaboration platforms to slay the monsters impeding successful collaboration.