Effective teamwork and collaboration is a hot topic for any digital enterprise in the business world. Information technology (IT) teams are often the ones who implement collaboration software into companies’ tech stacks in order to drive digital and business transformation. Despite this, IT professionals are often seen as immune to the concept of collaboration, preferring siloed workflows and only essential communication rather than embracing business and IT collaboration.
However, IT teams are just as capable of effective collaboration as the rest of us—and they can benefit from it just the same with collaboration software and other technology solutions just as capable of saving wasted time for IT pros as anyone else. Collaboration for IT departments, though, looks a little bit different from regular business collaboration between project managers and marketing teams, for instance.
In the world of IT, collaboration tools and practices need to align with certain methodologies that lend themselves to agile software development, DevOps, and the needs of end-users. With these tools and practices in place, IT departments can become effective collaborators internally and across business units.
What collaboration means in information technology
When looked at in the context of IT, collaboration refers to any situation where multiple parties (individuals, teams, or departments) converge to achieve a common goal. IT collaboration can also be used to describe certain collaboration tools and business technology solutions that enable team members to work together.
Business and IT collaboration are about keeping business leaders, stakeholders, strategic partners, and IT teams connected to drive business results, effective collaboration, and efficient project management.
Why is it important to collaborate in an increasingly digital business world?
There are so many reasons why it’s important to collaborate in the modern business environment. Although “collaboration” has become a bit of a corporate strategy buzzword, it’s still a relevant and necessary concept for all kinds of businesses, big or small.
Effective collaboration is one of the main driving factors behind business success. We’re living in an age of digital transformation. New technologies are popping up each day and the way we work has shifted—for the better.
Previously, most business teams were co-located in an office environment or other business units. Team collaboration involved heading to the conference room for a daily meeting or rolling your desk chair over to a colleague’s workspace to discuss projects. It meant long email threads, time-consuming meetings, and inefficient workflows.
Today, an increasing number of businesses are embracing remote work as part of their corporate strategy. The global shift towards the “work from anywhere” lifestyle has given rise to various technology tools and agile methodologies to facilitate synchronous collaboration and communication among dispersed teams. We’ll go into more detail about digital IT technologies for better collaboration and more efficient internal processes in the next section.
Overall, collaboration is the glue that holds businesses together. It’s what gives employees a sense of purpose, direction, and value as part of a business team. Moreover, it contributes directly to business success by cultivating effective business strategies, streamlining workflows, and developing workplace relationships that are fundamental to meeting business objectives.
How do you use emerging technologies to collaborate and improve business results?
Digital technology tools have come a long way in the last 20 years. Businesses can implement a range of tools to enhance the way people work, whether they’re located in an office environment or working remotely on their mobile phone from the other side of the world.
Technology solutions can greatly improve business value by empowering employees to work to their full productivity potential. From tools for communicating in real-time to artificial intelligence solutions that automate internal processes, there’s no doubt that technology opens up new doors for team collaboration efforts.
Opportunities to communicate and collaborate in real-time are game-changers in the modern business world. When choosing which tools and technologies to implement, it’s important to ensure they support automation, especially to support the completion of any major project with lots of moving parts.
Without business process automation, your IT team will need to perform time-consuming and repetitive tasks that can lead to inconsistencies and frustration. Automation tools allow you to free up your IT staff to focus on more important tasks that contribute to business success.
What is an example of collaboration among IT teams to add business value?
It could be a software development team taking on a major project and using a video conferencing tool to hold weekly video meetings to discuss progress. It might be IT leaders working with different departments using a centralized communication tool to update stakeholders regarding change management processes.
Or, it might be as simple as implementing a chat tool to enable business or development teams to communicate directly with the IT department when technical issues arise.
Tips for better IT collaboration
Effective collaboration is what enables CIOs and other IT professionals to make strategic business decisions, execute strategies, and deploy solutions that drive business results.
Traditionally, IT departments are siloed. Teams interact only when necessary. This results in a huge disconnect between IT departments and the rest of an organization. This kind of linear approach is outdated, and business leaders are turning to more integrated and collaborative business structures to improve operations.
As a first step, businesses need to address any structural business model issues that are reinforcing this disconnect between departments. This means understanding the needs of your IT team and opening up new channels of communication and collaboration with business intelligence tools that go beyond emails and conference calls. However, as important it is to implement systems and an overall operating model that facilitate automation, it’s also vital to build a team culture that values collaboration and transparency.
Below are some starting points for improving IT collaboration in your business.
1. Come to a common understanding about what collaborating effectively means
Before you start looking for the right tools and practices to boost IT collaboration in your business, it’s important to come to a common understanding of what effective collaboration means for your tech department.
Effective collaboration starts by establishing goals and business objectives not only on an organizational level, but on a team and project level too. Does it mean facilitating open communication channels with management and business owners? Is it about optimizing workflows to increase productivity and reduce wasted time? Or is the goal to reduce errors and streamline collaboration when developing and deploying software?
Collaboration in business should always align itself with wider business objectives. Consider how better IT collaboration could result in more strategic business decisions, less time wasted on time-consuming tasks, or improve employee satisfaction rates. Once you assess your business needs and establish clear goals, you can begin working towards implementing the right tools and practices to achieve them.
2. Foster better communication practices among IT teams
Depending on your business structure, IT organization might take place across regions, departments, or global teams. Today, it’s becoming increasingly common for IT professionals to work remotely, often taking a background role in the business operating model. For this reason, it can be challenging when team members or customers need to reach the IT department directly.
It’s necessary to open up clear and accessible communications channels among business departments to ensure your IT team is empowered to engage with colleagues, stakeholders, and customers in real-time. This is easily done with effective communication practices in place.
Video conferencing and instant messaging tools are essential features of any collaboration platform. These tools open up clear communication channels that are accessible, efficient, and encourage contribution. When a team member is having difficulty understanding how to use a software program, for instance, they can connect with the IT department instantly via message or call to get the lowdown on how it works.
Video conferencing is a particularly salient tool for facilitating better IT collaboration, as it allows CIOs or IT professionals to hop on a call and explain difficult technological concepts or programs instantly. They can even walk customers or other team members through each step using screen sharing features and annotations.
A unified communications platform like RingCentral Video by Ringcentral offers integrated voice, video, and messaging so IT teams can stay connected with a single app. Instead of switching between messaging tools, video calling software, and endless email threads, RingCentral Video allows users to keep all business-related communications in one place.
RingCentral Video lends itself to the agile methodology, meaning business owners and IT teams can share ideas and information with a robust, unified, and easy-to-use communication platform. Moreover, users can sign in from any internet-connected device with the RingCentral Video app. This means if your IT department is remotely located across different time zones, and you need to hold a group meeting to discuss a project, they can join wherever, whenever.
With unlimited users, messages, and video calling—RingCentral Video holds the key to all of your IT communication needs.
3. Enhance productivity and streamline IT workflows with business process automation
Implementing the right tools that allow your IT teams to work as efficiently and productively as possible is the key to improving collaboration within your business.
IT staff have a lot to deal with, from system access requests to cybersecurity threats—there’s never a dull moment. That’s why it’s crucial to have the right tools in place to help your IT team deal with all of those requests in the best way possible.
Leveraging artificial intelligence and business process automation technologies enables your IT teams to do what they do best by automating time-consuming tasks. Combine business process automation with a robust communication platform and you’ve got a recipe for collaboration success.
A collaboration platform like RingCentral Video empowers IT teams with:
- Unified voice, video, and instant messaging
- Cloud file sharing and storage
- Integrated task management
- Top-class business analytics
Instead of switching between various business apps for communication, project management, and brainstorming sessions—your team can do it all from the RingCentral Video app.
IT professionals have a lot on their plates. Keeping track of those little favors for colleagues as well as their bigger projects can be challenging. With RingCentral Video it’s easy. RingCentral Video’s built-in task management allows you to create and assign tasks directly within the app. You can attach files to tasks for more context, and even assign tasks to yourself to stay organized.
Another way RingCentral Video fosters better IT collaboration is through its file sharing and storage feature, which—by the way—is unlimited. That’s right, RingCentral Video allows teams to share and store an unlimited number of files in the cloud. What’s more, you can access and share files from any internet-connected device, which makes answering on-the-go a breeze.
For IT teams, this means no more passing important business docs back and forth via email and struggling to understand which version is current. Instead, users can send documents and files directly within the RingCentral Video team chat or via a private message and annotate them in real-time.
Centralized storage makes a world of difference when it comes to streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity, as users have everything they need at their fingertips.
Build a collaborative IT culture to drive digital and business transformation with RingCentral Video by RingCentral
As we’ve already mentioned, having robust communications and automation technologies is just the beginning. In the same way that DevOps projects don’t happen overnight, a collaborative team culture doesn’t just arrive because you decide you want one.
For a digital enterprise to achieve better IT collaboration, it requires organizational leadership, structured objectives, and the right training and tools in place to accomplish business goals.
Once you’ve established a collaborative team culture, you’ll need to keep up with shifting technology trends and business analytics. That way you can ensure your teams are always equipped with the tools and information they need to collaborate seamlessly while working towards business success.
RingCentral Video’s collaboration platform is the ideal solution for facilitating flawless collaboration across business teams. Your IT department can benefit from automated workflows, robust task management, and unified communications in a single, easy-to-use platform—all leading to optimized productivity and efficient collaboration.