Today, collaboration has become one of the core factors in maintaining a productive and efficient business. Effective collaboration has been linked to retaining top talent, improving employee engagement, and driving organisational performance. There are many benefits to promoting collaboration in the workplace – a report published by McKinsey & Company found that effective collaboration can result in a 20-25% increase in knowledge worker productivity.
However, with the rapid uptake of modern-day collaboration platforms organisations are faced with a significant risk to their performance and data security where mis, or even unmanaged, solutions are implemented. This haphazard approach leads to a negative impact for the business which IT Integrity call, “Scattergun Collaboration”.
Scattergun collaboration – pods of misaligned discussion that deter productivity from a focus on organisational outcomes and leave many organisations with disengaged teams, breaches via the sharing of sensitive client and business data, and misinformed or mislead stakeholders – collaboration without purpose or boundary.
Risk of Rapid Fire – 300 sites in 2 weeks!
A client, who will go unnamed, implemented Microsoft Teams, an advanced collaborative platform without defined administrative controls for the business. Unfortunately for this client, it then bore witness to their most rapid user adoption rate to date. Within a fortnight of the implementation over 300 internal collaboration sites had spawned with company information being shared based on “free for all” invites to a group spaces, rather than attributes of identity and digital asset privilege.
This, as you can imagine, required significant back peddling to unravel and resolve. We are happy to say that the client is now a firm believer in the IT Integrity Modern Collaboration Framework and is leveraging it to harness the energy of this adoption toward organisational performance.
As seen here, the power of modern collaboration platforms also lends them to heightened risk. Another example of this is “Shadow IT”. This is by no means a new term, however, one that has been exponentially enabled by unstructured collaboration.
Shadow IT: Uncontrolled and Unmanaged
With increasing number of employees bringing their own devices to work, and a plethora of applications and work around tools to accomplish tasks, employees end up solving the problems they are facing by deploying their own solutions – applications, spreadsheets and calculations, and resulting business processes without the approval, governance, or input of key organisational stakeholders.
As a whole, the practice of Shadow IT poses a threat to businesses both from a security and operational perspective:
Lack of Security – The organisation is unable to ensure the security of information that it does not know exists within the corporate network.
Unwarranted Expense– Many unapproved tools and solutions duplicate the functionality of approved processes and tools, resulting in the duplication of effort and expense.
Inefficiencies – Even though boosting efficiency is one of the reasons why many people unknowingly introduce shadow IT, chances are high that the result will be the complete opposite. The organisation will be reliant on the processes that are being reengineered for flow-on effects.
Prevention is the best Cure – Avoiding Scattergun Collaboration
Organisations can avoid “scattergun collaboration” enabling focused and purpose-driven collaboration by leveraging a defined organisational structure, identity based employee attributes, and linking these to the governance and administration of their collaboration environments. Simply implementing a new technology platform is not enough.
Prior to implementation, ensure these structures are in place to focus discussions and collaborative spaces on organisational drivers, protect the information that is shared, and ensure the right stakeholders are involved.
Finally, the most mature organisations link collaboration to a defined information strategy.
6 Tips to Realise Effective Collaboration
Through involvement on the ITAC organising committee, IT Integrity have worked with leading care services providers, Microsoft and our strategic partner (MOQdigital) to develop an adaptable Modern Collaboration Framework. The core philosophies of this framework form our 6 tips for effective collaboration in your organisation:
1. Recognise the power of information management as a key strategic lever.
2. Link collaborative activity to a business function or purpose and… categorise it!
3. Identify the relevant tiers of collaboration for your organisation, both functional and cross functional and include the right people (active and inactive collaborators) – leverage default identity attributes.
4. Define the structure of information and assets that will be shared within the collaborative space.
5. Make the administration easy – put in place rules and governance and automate.
6. Ensure you have a defined and effective archival approach to retain the information and history.
Regardless of your collaboration needs, IT Integrity can adapt this framework to formulate a concrete and focused collaboration strategy that will help you achieve your business outcomes. Embracing collaboration can enable clear and efficient communication, provide clarity across organisational teams and result in benefits ranging from increased organisational flexibility, faster innovation, and increased productivity.
written by Steve Iannuzzelli