86% of corporate professionals cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the main reason for workplace failures, and 94% feel collaboration is essential in today’s workplace. 97% of professionals believe a lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a task or project. As agile concepts like DevOps, scrum, and kanban emerge and change the makeup of enterprise teams, companies are searching for ways to strengthen interpersonal interaction in the enterprise.
Top 5 ways to foster collaboration in the enterprise.
1. Enterprise Collaboration Systems
Enterprise Collaboration Systems are information system used to facilitate efficient sharing of documents and knowledge between teams and individuals in an enterprise. These tools include document sharing software, video conference software, wikis, blogs, and chat platforms like Slack, Box, GoToMeeting, Google Docs, etc.
A study by Deloitte reports that Enterprise Collaboration Systems enable companies to grow 26% faster and deliver 21% higher profits.
2. Develop Autonomous Multidisciplinary Teams
The key to happiness at work isn't money - its autonomy. Enterprise Architects should oversee and collaborate with autonomous full-stack teams that solely develop and maintain their products from inception through operation. A multidisciplinary team is defined as a group composed of members with varied but complementary experience, qualifications, and skills that contribute to the achievement of the organization’s specific objectives.
Multidisciplinary teams are appearing more in the enterprise because their diverse viewpoints flush out details and factors that more homogeneous teams would miss. This leads to higher quality work.
An example would be a team tasked with designing a 3D food printer that will the installed on the International Space Station. The different disciplines needed to make this work might include an engineer, a chemist, a 3D printer expert, a nutritionist, a couple of software developers, a tester, a safety expert, a materials scientist, a physicist and a purchasing agent. Not all team members would be full-time on the team; some would meet daily and work together, but others would be in an advisory or Subject-Matter Expert role, and would be available when needed. It's up to the core team to reach out to their subject matter experts and keep them informed and involved.
3. Eliminate Information Silos
Silos inhibit collaboration. In business management and IT, a silo describes any management system that is unable to operate with any other system, meaning it's closed off from other systems. Silos create an environment of individual and disparate systems within an organization. Silos reduce efficiency in the overall operation, reduce trust and morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.
If left unchecked, organizational silos naturally occur simply because of how departments are structured. Different teams use varying tools, teams naturally have different goals, and may record their results in different manners.
Creating a unified vision, merging teams for better collaboration, implementing gamification techniques to reward cooperation, and using collaborative reporting structures are a few ways to discourage informational silos from occurring.
4. Incentivize Collaboration
Some team members are natural collaborators, and some are not. During the age of remote workers and highly specialized teams, it is easy for a team member to forget the importance of collaboration. Two ways of incentivizing collaboration include gamification and publicly acknowledging those who contribute. Having a way to publicly praise workers for their collaborative contribution will encourage other team members to share more.
Incentive programs with points, badges, and competitive rankings are designed to encourage team members to achieve goals. Consider creating a simple rewards program with knowledge sharing as the goal.
5. Provide Single Source Of Truth
Using a collaborative single source of truth that is accessible by many stakeholders strengthens the availability of high-quality data. If all business data is collected and stored in a common repository, the data can be easily accessed by all users through queries. Enterprise Architecture management tools like LeanIX serve as this single source of truth. Instead of all pertinent information being siloed off in different applications, a user can log onto the LeanIX software and use the powerful GraphQL data query language to access whichever information they seek.
Communication shared understanding, and insufficient tool support are still critical issues in EA management. LeanIX offers a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for Enterprise Architecture that enables organizations to make faster, data-driven decisions. LeanIX platform increases transparency and visibility and drives real-time efficiencies. LeanIX addresses IT’s critical need to ensure high quality, real-time data is accessible to the people who need it.