Collaboration Is About Workflows — Not Screen Sharing

WorkflowAs we navigate the reasons to get together in person, collaboration seems to be one of the main terms used as to why we still need physical spaces.

We’ve seen a multitude of solutions pop up in this arena, typically consisting of a screen, cameras, microphone, speakers and screen sharing software. Some systems take this up a notch by allowing for wireless connection of room peripherals without extending USB cables so that cameras, microphones and sound bars can be enrolled by a laptop for a meeting.

Wireless screen mirroring is obviously an important part of sharing visual data with other team members, but collaboration is much more about a workflow than it is about sharing your screen.

When people collaborate, they discuss a problem, talk about the reasons for the problem, explore possible solutions, pick the best course of action, assign roles, create timelines, execute projects either linearly of in tandem and then finally implement a full solution. If they’re really good, the process will include periodic review and adjustment, creating a feedback loop for improvements over time.

This process is not just limited to a Zoom call or sharing a PowerPoint slide or excel chart. The process isn’t over when the hour meeting ends because the workflow happens over an extended period of time and involves different combinations of individuals based on each task. It also involves a mix of analog and digital activities.

Our emphasis on screen sharing and UCC tools is important, but it is a very small part of the picture. As integrators, we often go after this low-hanging fruit, sell appliances we like and then leave it to our clients to determine how these new tools best fit into their workflows. In some cases, we may even expect our clients to alter their workflows to use the new tools, which is a recipe for low adoption and unrealized ROI.

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So, if meetings continue outside of their calendared times, tasks are progressive and continuous and data extends beyond digital borders, how can we up our collaboration game to better accommodate the way people work already?

The answer lies in the software platforms behind the cameras, microphones, screens and speakers that make up the minimum hardware layer. These programs enable people to work in the ways they already prefer, blending digital and analog tools to best mirror existing workflows and provide opportunities for asynchronous and synchronous collaboration beyond showing someone your laptop screen.

Stay tuned for a couple of follow-up blogs discussing some of these software tools.