If you want to work more effectively – work smarter, as the current phraseology goes – you need to be collaborating. Collaboration means people working together proactively. It doesn’t mean meetings where someone presents and everyone else listens; and it isn’t watching a webinar over the internet and having no means of feeding information back. Creating a collaboration strategy means having the facility for everyone in a meeting to get involved and work together; it means everyone can participate equally in a project – and when you start collaborating effectively, amazing things can happen.
The difficulty, of course, comes when your team are not all in the same room. How on earth do you truly collaborate on a project when, for example, you’re in London, your designer is in Birmingham and the guys on the production line are in India? You can use the phone – but it’s often difficult to put visual ideas into words, so miscommunication is easy. You can email – but when isolated as text, the subtleties of speech and language can be misunderstood. And how can you all contribute when you’re so far apart?
In fact, creating a collaboration strategy that works has never been easier. Technology has given us the opportunity to collaborate effectively wherever we are based. Video conferencing lets us see and talk to people whether they are in the next room or on the other side of the world. Interactive white boards let us view and work on documents remotely, in real time, and then share them after the meeting. And combining these two technologies gives you a meeting experience that’s the closest thing you can get to working face to face.
But not every business will have the same requirements – or budgets – and at Smarter Interactive we pride ourselves on working individually with every customer to create a collaboration strategy that is ideal for them. For example, many of our clients in the engineering and manufacturing industries are reliant on sharing and collaborating on data such as diagrams and schematics. Being able to see each other isn’t especially important; on the other hand, access to equipment such as SMART Boards and visualisers means they can work with people remotely to annotate documents and view parts and plans.
Likewise, consultants and recruiters need that face to face contact to be able to work effectively. A video conferencing facility means they can conduct interviews, assessments and training remotely, meaning less travel time and expense for them and their clients.
And then there are the companies who need both video contact and data collaboration. A software company we work with has offices in the UK and India. In the past they frequently sent people over to India to oversee projects, and the week-long trips were very expensive. As part of their collaboration strategy they are trialling using SMART Boards and video conferencing together. Though the initial outlay is high, they only need to cut back on a handful of trips to India before they see a return on their investment – and they won’t need to compromise on their collaborative work.
At Smarter Interactive we don’t believe that one size fits all – we know every customer is an individual with their own needs, wishes, requirements and budgets. If you would like us to create a collaboration strategy that works for you, give us a call on 0118 336 0010.