By Irwin Lazar, VP and Service Director, Nemertes Research
Team collaboration apps have gained rapid adoption in the enterprise, with already more than 46% of participating companies in Nemertes’ 2018-19 unified communications and collaboration study either using them or planning to use them by the end of 2018. Team collaboration apps combine chat and persistent workspaces to enable groups to communicate and collaborate within the context of a project, activity or function, and around tasks, documents, project plans, or other business activities.
Unfortunately, many organizations start down the path of improving communication and collaboration without a proper digital workplace strategy and plan. When this happens, systems and apps aren’t properly integrated and as a result, conversations in team applications often exist outside of enterprise knowledge management strategies. Those who aren’t using the team app will not be able to search conversations, engage with co-workers, or take advantage of existing knowledge to assist in their own efforts. Individual workgroups, using their own team collaboration apps, make it nearly impossible for company-wide knowledge exchange. This leads to a situation in which employees are forced to communicate with peers, customers, and partners in a variety of different applications, creating confusion, learning challenges, repetitiveness, and ultimately, frustration.
Not integrating team collaboration into enterprise knowledge management strategies also makes it virtually impossible to meet governance and compliance requirements such as mandatory data retention, in-country storage of personally identifiable information (e.g. to meet upcoming GDPR requirements), or the ability to export data into archiving systems. IT security teams may lack visibility into what is being shared, how it is being shared, and with whom it is being shared. Business leaders are unable to obtain metrics showing how apps may improve specific business processes, increase productivity, or deliver measurable improvements to customer engagements.
Increasingly, IT leaders are viewing team collaboration applications as a critical part of their knowledge management strategy and are looking to centrally provision and manage these apps, or standardize on a single app. Leveraging team collaboration as part of a knowledge management strategy presents several clear advantages, including:
- Incorporating content stored within team chats into a multi-repository search platform, making content accessible throughout the organization regardless of where it originates.
- Ability to implement standard controls for message retention and archiving, ensuring compliance with regulatory and other operating requirements.
- Enabling enterprise-wide access to team collaboration applications, eliminating potential silos of organizational knowledge.
- Integrating team collaboration into other areas of knowledge management, such as document creation and management, for example enabling contextual chat by creators and editors as they develop a report or presentation.
- Economies of scale by centralizing purchasing of applications, opening up opportunities to reduce costs via volume license purchasing discounts.
- Providing for a consistent set of APIs to enable integrations between team collaboration platforms and enterprise applications, enabling collaboration in the context of workflows.
- Reduction in training time and costs by eliminating silos of redundant applications.
Integrating team collaboration and knowledge management thus positions organizations for more efficient and effective internal and external knowledge transfer and adherence to compliance requirements. IT and business leaders should work together to understand requirements and deliver solutions that meet knowledge management, collaboration, and governance requirements for the entire organization.
Irwin Lazar, VP and Service Director, Nemertes Research
At Nemertes Research, Irwin Lazar manages research operations, develops and manages research projects, conducts and analyzes primary research, and advises numerous enterprise and vendor clients. Irwin is responsible for benchmarking the adoption and use of emerging technologies in areas including VOIP, UC, video conferencing, social computing, collaboration, contact center, and customer engagement.
Download Your KM Guide Today
Learn how to incorporate team collaboration into a knowledge management strategy at your organization. Get your guide to knowledge management in today’s digital workplace. Download the Guide.