By Scott Schreiman
Operating a business in today’s freelance economy with its distributed workforces has been likened to herding cats. Enveloped 24/7 in an app-laden cloud, even full-time employees are getting very cat-like with their freely roaming and BYOD behaviors. To win, you need a price-competitive and effective way of harnessing all these cats into a synergistic whole.
Only contextual collaboration can get the whole motley crew on the same page.
The need for better collaboration has helped to drive the rebirth of chat, which overcame earlier technology limitations and leveraged the ascendancy of the smartphone to become the virtual water cooler of our collaborative economy. However, while chat can now link to indexed documents and include task-management features, its architecture was not designed for providing persistent historical context to each individual collaborator who comes and goes.
Businesses need a better solution. The volume, velocity and fragmentation of information we generate all continues to accelerate at exponential rates. Increasingly, information without context is just a lot of noise impeding what Internet-era people have come to expect: convenience, connection, collaboration and instant gratification.
Chat and a whole host of collaborative apps help us hear through the noise and function more effectively on distributed work teams. Unfortunately, they exact a fairly heavy price: the burden of continual context switching. Sync-and-share apps give everyone access to the right version of the right documents, but the historical context of those documents is scattered across emails, text messages, chat logs, videoconference recordings, wikis and the like. With the content and context separated, reconstructing the thinking behind the development of a document is a huge productivity drain.
What we need is a “same page” application that unifies siloed content and context and embeds it all into conversations.
Context enriches conversation threads, documents and other content enormously. Sharing the context along with the content minimizes ambiguities, simplifies communications and streamlines the collaborative process. With a same-page app, the historical context of any moment along a conversation path is just a click away.
This sort of app should have an intuitive interface, requires little to no training, and accommodates the workflow peculiarities of collaborating groups. It should automatically capture all the conversations pertinent to each project, task, document or other file. The result is a whole new level of contextual engagement that eliminates a lot of collaboration overhead while boosting productivity significantly.
With same-page technology picking up the slack, collaboration becomes seamless and effortless. Nothing is lost, no one is left out, and each individual contribution amplifies the collaborative whole.