Basics of Social Collaboration

Our first blog dwelled on the concept of data telling you the story. However, with collaboration occupying the center-stage in today’s enterprise, it’s necessary to extend the power of storytelling to this arena.

Present scenario of Enterprise Collaboration

Given the profusion of collaboration tools in the market, one would presume that peak productivity is a done and dusted deal. However, far from it, the multiplicity and complexity of collaboration tools burdens the already overtasked business-user. While a lot has changed in the last decade, the challenges we face haven’t.

Let’s consider a typical office scenario: A bank officer is tasked with analyzing the risk profile of a loan applicant, and among his efforts include working with an experienced colleague (to learn background and process), third-party vendor (for address verification) and an external consultant (to seek expert opinion about an intricacy involved). Each of these by themselves comprise multiple sub-tasks, which require careful collation of bespoke collaborative efforts. Further, assembling the sum-total of these individual tasks and making sense of the data-confluence requires manual attention.

In the current scheme of affairs, business-users are employing an array of tools to achieve the same. But the efforts being disjointed and isolated, users are forced to expend a lot of time and energy to first establish the context and to convey the accompanying details that enable fruitful collaboration. As indicated earlier, today’s collaboration tools, due to their multiplicity and complexity, are rendered ill-equipped to deal with the enormity of enterprise collaboration.

Socializing the Collaboration Pathways

Collaboration today, boiling it down to basics, is a series of data-transfer activities that lack harmony, connection and meaning. The business conversations among users (concerning the collaboration) that act as a glue that binds various data-sets is left unharnessed; a precious element is being thrown away because its significance is not understood.

Just like data can be ‘socialized’, the collaboration pathways can be similarly socialized to ease fluid flow of data in a way that enables all-round collaboration.

When collaboration pathways are socialized, it makes way for collaboration through storytelling.

Here, story is the undercurrent, the common thread which undergirds context, content, background, conversations, and other accompaniments. To use a cinematic analogy, these aspects (such as context, content, background, etc) play the roles of supporting characters, but the principal driving force is the story itself. Through an interplay of data, documents, conversations and expertise, a new scale of collaboration – named social collaboration – is made possible.

This form of collaboration is minimally intrusive and frictionless, while it carries the maximum heft and clarity. Humans are hardwired to recollect the story long after the details have slowly eroded. By using the power of storytelling, the interaction between users is elevated to a crystalized picture, while technology ensures that the rich texture of minutiae is faithfully translated into the picture.

For too long has collaboration been in the hands of mechanized technology sans the human touch. It’s time for human-literate technologies to take over and catapult the enterprise collaboration to the next orbit, this time with armed with something closer to the human heart and mind.

It’s time to leverage the power of storytelling for enterprise collaboration.

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