Stuart Templeton, head of UK at Slack, on why collaboration is key for business growth.
Every business starts off small. A founder or team of founders who turn their vision into reality, who sit in the driver’s seat and nurture the company so it can grow. Over time, the business evolves, adding employees that become teams and teams that become separate units within the organisation. While this expansion helps the business thrive, it also adds another layer of complexity that can cause friction. Ensuring everyone is headed in the same direction all of a sudden becomes much more challenging than it was before.
This is a common test for any business that has made it past the startup stage. But it is especially true for large enterprises made up of thousands of employees, often spread out across different offices, time zones and even continents. Effective coordination and efficient collaboration between all these disparate entities is a determining factor in whether a business succeeds or not.
Every organisation has a fundamental interest in making sure their employees work and communicate with each other as efficiently as possible, as this directly impacts business productivity – which ultimately makes or breaks a business. Like the human body, made up of billions of cells and dozens of organs, every business needs a central nervous system coordinating efforts across the whole organisation so the entire thing doesn’t collapse in on itself.
With the rise of digitisation and innovative technologies, a new breed of platforms is emerging to claim this space. These platforms ensure teams are better connected, the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at everyone’s fingertips. They are true collaboration hubs that connect teams, knowledge and critical information, and help make work happen.
This is an important point as organisations don’t just want to align all employees behind a shared goal. They also want to tap into the vast amount of knowledge that exists among them. To achieve this, companies need to break open the silos of information created by technologies like email, and make sure anyone within a business has access to the knowledge and skills they need to make whatever project or task they are working on a success.
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Creating a knowledge repository
This means organisations need to move away from legacy technologies and create new virtual spaces grouped around tasks or projects that allow teams to work together in a transparent way. These dedicated communication channels foster a collaborative approach and, even more importantly, serve as a knowledge repository that any employee, no matter when they joined the company or team, can tap into to quickly get up to speed on things.
Think of this as the brain in our bodies, soaking up knowledge as we go about our day, ready to recall information as needed. Every organisation needs these memory cells that store information and ensure historic knowledge doesn’t leave the company when employees do. That’s essentially what channel-based collaboration is all about. We believe that by 2025, these communication channels will replace email as the primary means of communication.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works here. Every company is different and has unique requirements. That is why any collaboration hub needs to be scalable, flexible and customisable so organisations can tailor it to their specific needs. Whether an organisation has 500 or 500,000 employees, collaboration hubs need to effortlessly be able to connect every single one of them to the rest of the company.
Modern businesses operate off complex organisational structures. Collaboration hubs need to serve as the central nervous system of an organisation, navigating these intricate structures to ensure employees can connect with each other, align on goals and share their knowledge, no matter where they are based. Major productivity improvements come not from inspirational breakthroughs, but by enabling everyone in a team to be better aligned and connected – and collaboration hubs are the key in achieving this.