Why Embracing Workstream Collaboration is Inevitable
By year-end 2022, 70% of teams will rely on workstream collaboration (WSC) as the primary means of communicating, coordinating and sharing information between team members, displacing email and unified communications (UC) platforms. Gartner also forecasts a compound annual growth rate in spending of 96% from 2016 to reach nearly $5 billion in 2021. The bottom line? It’s time to look at how your organization can embrace workstream collaboration.
Workstream collaboration is a newer work style for conversationally driven teams. While WSC may not be for all types of collaboration (like standalone, document-centric collaboration), workstream collaboration addresses the need for persistent conversation that has been lacking from both email and UC platforms.
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How to Identify Core Use Cases for UC’s Replacement Category
Teams are often most effective with workstream collaboration applications when there is a dynamic nature of work, a requirement for situational awareness, or a need to self-synchronize using conversational interactions, according to a Gartner report on transforming team coordination and performance with workstream collaboration.
- Dynamic nature of work: Teams that mix people, tech, space, and place make for an incredibly dynamic work environment that depends on innovation, experimentation, and collaboration.
- Situational awareness: Teams that have to understand their immediate surroundings and the impact of their actions with regard to others rely heavily on communication and the information at hand. Quick and simple collaboration is essential.
- Self-synchronize: Teams that have to simultaneously work on multiple projects while being aware of what others are working on puts the pressure to self-synchronize on the individual to connect with others to align their work efforts with their team members.
Other common application scenarios that can prove successful for workstream collaboration:
- Non-routine work activities
- Implicit automation and process flows
- Decisions that go beyond normal guidelines
- Iterative and high communication velocity projects
- Mission critical coordination dependent on visibility and transparency
- Historical access to conversations through search
- Dynamic decision-making situations dependent on collaboration
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Real Workstream Collaboration Use Cases and Why They Work
Where can you find some of these scenarios within your own team? Here are a few examples of direct use cases within the workplace that you can use to help your organization embrace workstream collaboration.
Different working styles, methodologies, and teaming practices can make working across organizational boundaries difficult – think of a member from the sales team sharing customer feedback directly with the development team. Unifying conversations with WSC can promote agility, information sharing, and group coordination.
Teams must collaborate in diverse environments requiring the use of a combination of previously siloed tools to achieve results – writing code, referencing spreadsheets, etc. Workstream collaboration allows team members to learn from each other’s work and to collectively interact with their core systems.
Teams that work with complex and unanticipated exceptions require more diverse and manual handling. Ad hoc team building often comes when a relevant expert needs to be located – such as when the IT team needs to get in touch with the Compliance Officer. WSC leverages conversation to brainstorm and transfer insights from experts.
Rapid Incident Response
Teams comprised of people from different backgrounds and levels of expertise do not have a set process for how to handle every scenario confronting them. Customer support teams are often tiered but the process of when to escalate to a specific person can be unclear. A dynamic team environment means that conversation plays a central coordinating role.
How Else Can You Embrace Workstream Collaboration within Your Organization?
Because workstream collaboration applications offer different work environments, it’s critical to understand the differences in the workstyles of teams and individuals. Some teams have a unique need for integration with other applications, while other organizations are working to create relationships and team culture for digital success. Other common scenarios that may suggest it’s time to switch from unified communications to workstream collaboration platforms include:
- Geographical spread and remote opportunities that make audio/video the priority
- Conversational teams that focus on content and data which correlate to a business application (like Dynamics or SAP) — meaning that integration with proper business systems will be crucial
- Regulatory-specific features (eDiscovery, legal hold, data loss protection) required by certain organizations where security and compliance may be a top priority.
- External contributors who may need guest access and/or interoperability between different workstream collaboration platforms
Understanding the nuanced ways that people and teams work together and what functionality each team needs can help lead organizations to transition and embrace workstream collaboration platforms.
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