When we talk about the advantages of document management and other digital data solutions, the focus is usually on efficiency and cost. Digital strategies and software for information management most certainly cut operating costs, improve business functions and increase productivity. But these are just some of the ways a company sees a return on their investment. What we fail to give as much attention is the ability of document management to generate successful collaborative efforts between co-workers, partners and colleagues.
Software, technologies and tools are made available to employees to use independently, and the hope is to see the progression towards working together via these new solutions. The truth is that a creating a partnership between people who normally don’t interact isn’t an easy feat and technology alone won’t prompt these working relationships. Companies fail to realize they must first address internal corporate culture issues that disrupt opportunities for successful collaboration, and then introduce innovative ways to implement technologies.
Structure and management play a huge role in impeding on collaboration. Finishing a project on time and within budget is a manager’s responsibility, and collaboration naturally takes a bit more time and patience. Also, the organizational hierarchy in the workplace sets the standard that people can only collaborate with one another if they share the same boss.
In most work environments, competition is promoted and rewards are typically given to individuals, not teams. It’s understandable that workplace competition is on the rise. People must prove on a regular basis that they’re knowledgeable enough to not be replaced by someone younger and smarter. There is a fear of knowledge sharing, and its promoting independent accomplishments rather than group efforts.
The competitiveness of the current market, and speed in which information must be transmitted and processed, necessitates the need for changes in the way we work and share information. However, companies can’t expect technology to fix these problems alone. What many organizations find is that they introduce all of these collaborative technologies, tools and software to see people are still working independently. The key is to address issues of corporate culture, then implement upgrades and advancements in technology. It’s not until you’ve established a culture of information and knowledge sharing that you can introduce technologies and see which produce the most successful results.