Productivity at the Core of Cultural Change

Team doing planning for organizational change - CollabTalkWe have entered into the er of end user productivity. While the past 20 years of information technology have largely been focused on broad, system-based solutions that were designed to process and “templatize” data through centralized and sometimes rigidly constructed, governance-heavy content management platforms, the next step in technological evolution will instead revolve around the end-user. Command-and-control systems will be displaced by personalized solutions, overly-processed assets replaced by flexible frameworks and easily shareable knowledge repositories through which social signals and data will be consumed through dynamic and mobile applications, working with and across any device.

In this next phase of enterprise collaboration, successful organizations will evolve their IT focus from the systems that capture and retain, to those that disseminate, harnessing these personalized applications and platforms and turn their focus toward improving the end-user experience.

How organizations collaborate and connect are changing. Tools are becoming more seamless and integrated. The lines between the tools we use at home and work are blurring. While some of these new capabilities are released as standalone products, many of the more powerful tools are becoming ubiquitous within existing workloads. A great example of this is the increasingly standardized ways in which you can share content from within any Microsoft Office product, whether on premises or in the cloud. This blending helps minimize the learning curve so that end users spend less time figuring out how to use the technology, and more time focused on their own productivity.

On the topic of productivity, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his #WPC14 keynote:

We change the core of who we are in terms of our organization and how we work and our value to our customers. That’s the hardest point, really. The technology stuff is the simpler thing. We all know that but we need to move forward with the boldness that we can change our culture. It’s not even this one time change: it’s the process of continued renewal, that ability to succeed with our customers.

One key failure of many content and knowledge management strategies is to tie a solution to specific infrastructure and line-of-business integrations, architected in a way that does not allow the organization to quickly adapt and change as the needs of the business evolve. The volume of our data, and the complexity of connections we make to other systems and data sets will only increase. According to IDC, the size of a typical SharePoint environment is just over 1TB of content, with growth rates of 50% to 75% annually. Additionally, end user needs are constantly maturing, changing at an equal or greater rate than the systems they are using. Our ability to adapt and grow beyond the scope of our tools outpaces the speed at which our organizations can deploy these solutions.

To remain competitive — and to retain top talent — organizations need to do a better job at providing solutions that allow end users to quickly leverage the latest and greatest technologies and most relevant content.

The goal should be to create a “connected system” where knowledge and innovation are “crowd-sourced” from across the network, and the best ideas and solutions are able to quickly surfaced, reinforced with the collective wisdom of the crowd, and shared with external actors. It’s as much of a cultural change in how we approach technology as it is a change to the technology we use.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Apps & Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and fractional-CMO for revealit.io, tyGraph, and Extranet User Manager.