Thursday, June 6, 2013

Positioning Collaborative Web in a global context

The global trends in cloud storage, mobile computing and social media platforms, have emerged as a differentiating factor in the success of businesses. Most businesses have realized that online web collaboration tools can form part of the solution to inefficient working practices. They can help mobilize the workspace while still driving business value through technology. Success stories of many companies have been linked to the incorporation of this trend into their Corporate Strategy[1].

Let’s analyze the elements that fit together to power online collaboration in modern web systems. These can be best represented as rotating wheels of a geared system. Each represents a distinct element but their mutual coupling facilitates the functioning of a more complex system. The evolving trend seen under each characteristic element demands an equal support from the others to achieve a balanced and sustainable design.[2]

Growing trends in “cloud data storage” and “big data” space makes available tremendous amount of both raw and processed data (the Content) for user consumption. Next level of enablement comes from the virtualized and networked systems that grant users seamless and secured Access to this data. Governance policies ensure that only authorized users are permitted to break into these systems managing these streams of data. Collaboration, at the next level, propels this vision forward by promoting data sharing and easy online user interactions, thereby imitating the characteristics of a real human society.

These web collaboration tools act as an enabler for many small and large businesses by making operational chores of an organization efficient, with such features as:
o  Connecting global workforce for collaborative planning and execution
o  Promoting user-driven product strategy
o  Performing system support/maintenance activities without physically moving workforce
o  Conducting employee training and development and mobilizing skills globally
o  Information proliferation through document sharing

Web-based training applications provide an online environment that combines interactive virtual classroom learning, meeting and Web seminar capabilities to enable eLearning and collaborative web conferencing throughout the world. Many organizations and educational institutions use these platforms and greatly benefit from this evolving trend.

An interesting example of a business leveraging this collaboration is O’Neill [3], a Californian surf, snow and lifestyle brand. It uses Citrix’s GoToAssist, a cloud-based service, for its helpdesk support systems. This guarantees efficiency as the customer system’s support process is no longer time-consuming and does not require the customer to possess any advanced systems knowledge. It is like handing over your machine to the technical support engineer, who might be at the other side of the world, to operate on the system issues. It is a win-win situation for the customer, as he saves time, effort and money, while the solution provider saves any travelling overheads to service its customers.

With an increase in entrepreneurship culture where cost effectiveness is not just an opportunity but a necessity, the future of web collaboration tools seems exciting. The infographic below produced by "" illustrates this opinion.[1]

So, how does your business take advantage of the collaboration tools?

1. “75% of Businesses to Use Social Collaboration Tools in 2013 [infographic].” Econsultancy. Accessed June 4, 2013.
2. Amy Donahue. “Entering the World of Online Collaboration: A Case Study of Librari...” Education. Accessed June 5, 2013.
3. “O’Neill Riding a Wave of Innovation with Citrix | Business Wire,” June 5, 2011.
4. Going from global trends to corporate strategy (Becker and Freeman, Mckinsey Quarterly, 2006 Number)

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