It’s Friday afternoon at 3 p.m., and you’re sitting in a meeting with four other employees in your department. Each colleague is giving a short update on their respective projects. “Couldn’t this have been done via email?” you think to yourself. Or better yet, could this meeting have taken place online?
Collaboration is king. It speeds up processes. It empowers employees to work how, when, and where they want. And it makes everything more efficient.
At the end of the day, efficiency will positively impact your company’s bottom line. So why do employees run into so many roadblocks when trying to collaborate with their peers and colleagues? And how does your IT department help—or hinder—that process?
Within most companies, the IT department often holds the keys to software, vendor relationships, testing and trialing technologies, and more. As such, they are frequently thought of as the gatekeepers for all things tech.
Here are a few ways that your IT department can help to champion greater employee-to-employee collaboration throughout your business.

 

Seek new technologies. Don’t wait for them to come to you.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the new technology space. Yes, everyone knows how to send an email. But could an app help a group of employees work together on a document, instead of sending 15 versions back and forth through cyberspace?

 

Don’t let geography become a barrier.

You may have offices in 10 different countries, but that shouldn’t get in the way of cross-company collaboration. Can you implement a video chat tool that allows multiple offices to be on the same call? Encourage teams that are geographically distant to use the tools available to them.

 

Small failures can result in large successes.

Not every collaboration tool, software, or technology is going to work for your company, so be mindful of how you test these opportunities. Perhaps you think using the Slack collaboration platform will be beneficial. Well, instead of immediately rolling it out company-wide, test it among a few small teams with different roles and technology comfort levels. Notice the pain points, and use those lessons to bolster your company-wide rollout plan and subsequent training.

 

Take a leadership role.

Always practice what you preach. If IT is pushing a new tool, be sure that your IT teams are actively and successfully using it. Other departments will look to IT for best practices and case studies on relative effectiveness. These will be hard to provide if you’re not familiar with the tool or platform in question.