Distribution of Work in 2015: Collaboration Success, Challenges and Tool Use

Collaboration Success and Challenges

When we asked what the top three challenges to collaboration success were in their organization, only one was about technology:

  1. Better collaboration technologies (52% felt their tools did not support distributed work)
  2. More transparent and interactive leadership
  3. Cultural change for more transparency, better communication and coordination

We also asked what made collaboration more successful in your organization?

  1. Get the best talent
  2. Have a flexible work environment
  3. Have technology to keep everyone connected

Collaboration Tool Use and Benefits

All the usual suspects were found to be implemented (email, IM/Chat, screen sharing, videoconferencing, etc.). We did find that e-mail use had dropped about 12%, since the last time we asked this question in 2012. The three most popular uses of these tools are:

  1. Coordinate work with another person or team (79.2%)
  2. Getting up to date on the status (of a project or initiative (69.9%)
  3. Getting critical information (64.8%)

The departments that most require distributed collaboration (Sales/Marketing, IT, Professional Services) are the ones that not only have and use the most collaboration tools, but they also attend less meetings.

It was clear that company size did have a big effect on what collaborative tools and functions were chosen, and that the smaller companies were the most proficient users of the distributed collaboration tools they have. “Collaborative Chaos (too many collaborative tools and too many choices) often reigned in the mid-sized organizations, and pretty much no one who responded to the survey had any kind of a plan for collaboration.

When we asked about their current collaboration tools and how well they supported distributed  collaboration only 1/3 responded that their current tools met SOME of their needs in this area. This shows that although a distributed way of working is a growing trend,  that there are not adequate tools (especially in the enterprise) to support this new way of working.

Distributed working or collaboration is a different paradigm or philosophy which assumes all work will be distributed, and what is the best way to do that. Once this is determined, then the best tools to support that can be tested. Since this is a relatively new trend I expect the leaders to show up in smaller companies, as well as the departments of: sales/Marketing, Customer Service/Support, and Professional Services, in larger organizations.