Speaking About Team Collaboration

The term “collaboration” is rapidly becoming a misunderstood corporate buzz word as it applies to an ever-growing set of use cases. Collaboration is internally focused; it involves external parties. It’s ad hoc; it’s structured. When industry pundits discuss collaboration solutions, what should you pay attention to?


17 May 2011

The term “collaboration” is rapidly becoming a misunderstood corporate buzz word as it applies to an ever-growing set of use cases. Collaboration is internally focused; it involves external parties. It’s ad hoc; it’s structured. When industry pundits discuss collaboration solutions, what should you pay attention to?

To start, you need to know how your teams will collaborate. Collaboration can simply refer to the sharing of knowledge with co-workers, as memorialized in this classic Dilbert comic strip. The involvement of co-workers in the same office, reviewing presentations and articulating thoughts on a white board were all tenants of collaboration.

In today’s world, however, “collaboration” increasingly entails folks gathering virtually, from multiple organizations, in order to either foster ideation or to work towards a specific business purpose. We’ve all seen both of these modes of collaboration in action — and they are quite different from each other.

Sharing concepts is typically performed in real time and in an ad hoc manner, requiring the use of broad tools. In contrast, securely sharing and working on documents to complete a specific business process involves a serial approach with purpose-built capabilities such as workflow.

When Intralinks speaks of collaboration, we refer to the latter use case, which includes specific processes such as managing a contract, divesting an asset and distributing safety documents related to a clinical trial. Collaboration with purpose delivers meaningful ROI in the form of time, cost and related resource savings. I recently spoke at Ovum’s Information Management & Collaboration conference in London about getting the job done with secure collaboration in the cloud. I covered topics including how businesses can streamline their high-value business processes in a cloud-based environment.

Industry analysts frequently speak of team collaboration because a growing number of enterprises are seeking solutions to optimize and improve their business processes. Team collaboration solutions can deliver on this need. A recent report authored by Richard Edwards of Ovum offers a detailed and balanced analysis of the Intralinks collaboration platform. In his research, Richard analyzes Intralinks across various dimensions including collaboration functionality, management and administration capabilities, licensing, deployment and security options and product strategy.

Richard writes: “organizations operating in commercially sensitive industries, such as the financial services sector, should explore the business value afforded by Intralinks Exchanges in terms of cost reduction through process improvement and efficiency gains.” Access a complimentary copy of the complete Ovum report HERE or an executive summary HERE.

There are many use cases for collaboration in today’s cross-organizational business environment. When speaking of collaborating in the cloud with business purpose, Intralinks should be top of mind.