Future of Business Process Acceleration

by CXOtoday Staff    Dec 15, 2009

In today’s business environment, equipping information workers with the right tools to do their jobs is a fundamental element for maintaining a competitive advantage. Organisations are striving to achieve global connectivity in a dynamic environment where travel is becoming more difficult and expensive, employees are more dispersed and business boundaries are constantly being extended.

Accelerating your business
To harness the benefits of the new work order, organisations are looking to achieve true collaboration with customers, partners, suppliers and employees. Simply put, the mantra is to ‘improve productivity while lowering costs.’ Web collaboration is becoming imperative in reaching this fundamental goal by offering ‘anytime, anywhere’ communications that impacts the bottom line and improves profitability as well.

Beyond the core benefits of reduced travel costs and time savings are even more significant ways in which Web collaboration is providing maximum value to its adopters. In addition to the hard benefits, the consensus is that Web collaboration delivers increased speed, reduced time-to-market and better team productivity.

However, valuing technology investments has confounded many organisations. Enterprises lack the tools and metrics needed to make informed business decisions on the value of collaboration technologies for information-worker productivity.

Collaboration — the business re-definer
It is apparent that business environments are becoming more complex and dynamic. As organisations adapt to changing conditions and competitive pressures, they have consistently looked for tools and technologies that can offer improvements in their business processes — like enhanced productivity and cost savings. Companies have made investments in automation systems (SFA, CRM, and ERP) and seen good returns. Investments in audio, video and Web collaboration tools unlock further value as conferencing and collaboration accelerate every business process — right from engineering to sales.

Web collaboration offers the capability to meet with anyone, anywhere, and anytime; letting businesses share documents, presentations and other applications over the Web with rich interaction. Web collaboration solutions deliver a Web-based, real-time and synchronous meeting environment that can be utilised for presentation and/or collaboration.

Through Web collaboration users can:

  • Conduct slide presentations
  • Collaboratively share applications and files
  • Annotate documents
  • Send text messages
  • Conduct polls and surveys
  • Record and broadcast meetings

Web collaboration enables organisations to meet their business challenges in two ways — save on time and money, which is otherwise spent on frequent travel. This results in improved business processes and communication, which in turn translates to enhanced workforce productivity.

Organisations today are thriving in an age of information glut. Information or technology by itself does not provide a competitive advantage — putting the technology to strategic use as an integral part of a business process does. Collaboration tools have become key enablers of a virtual workplace in which employees can quickly get information they need and ad hoc groups can set up meetings on the fly.

Benefits of Web collaboration are not just derived from being able to communicate instantly but also from its true integration into the day-to-day enterprise workflow (back-end management systems, existing operation databases and enterprise applications). To be truly effective, however, Web collaboration technologies must be capable of streamlining entire business processes in multiple functional areas, by facilitating the workflow that occurs before, during and after online meetings or events.

Conclusion
There is no question that collaborative technologies drive efficiency. While the value proposition is widely recognised, measuring the real impact of the technology on information worker productivity and ultimately on profitability remains a key challenge. The challenge lies not in the benefits, but in the way they have been measured.

Using a structured methodology to evaluate ‘hard’ as well as ’soft’ returns from the investment in Web collaboration will enable organisations to quantify the impact that the solution will have on productivity. This ensures that any cost-benefit technology analysis accurately ‘measures’ not just travel cost savings but also the impact on employee productivity.