Nobody doubts that collaboration is one of today’s most important corporate trends. Company structures are highly decentralized and fragmented, and teams are divided over multiple units or group companies. This makes a recent survey by PAC software consultants all the more interesting. They questioned 150 managers in German companies to get a snapshot of current opinions. And what did they discover? That the technical equipment to make cooperation happen is often lacking.

Sounds good in principle, but ...

Even the structures of the companies surveyed make it obvious what a high value they must place on collaboration. Almost two thirds have multiple national locations, and over a third have branches outside abroad as well. Around 30 percent are part of a multi-national group, and almost half of the companies work frequently with external employees. These are ideal conditions for a blossoming culture of collaboration. At least, that’s what it seems – with 68 percent of participants agreeing that functional collaboration offers “major” or “very major” potential for improvement, in particular regarding processes and operations.

IT facilities lacking

But there are three stumbling blocks that can keep virtual collaboration from really getting off the ground. 46 percent, for instance, criticize the culture of exchange. 45 percent view the organizational conditions for virtual teams as problematic. Even more, 48 percent to be exact, would assess the technical equipment offered by their own employers as “mediocre” or even “very bad.” That smarts – these are powerful tools, after all. EASY ECM might be something for these companies to consider – its comprehensive collaboration features could be a great help, and have been on the market for quite some time.

One other interesting aspect of the whole question: at least 55 percent of companies are integrating investment in virtual collaboration into their corporate strategies, and another 28 percent are integrating this investment in their IT strategy. Only a minority of 17 percent place decisions about investing in the hands of individual business units. This gives us hope for the future. One thing’s for sure: in today’s world, no company should fail to use the possibilities for collaboration that digitalization creates. If they do, they might regret it.

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