Dude, where's my file? How a Digital Workplace can un-trap critical knowledge.

How advanced is your file strategy?


For many organizations, document collaboration still means creating a file, storing it on a local hard drive, emailing it back and forth to make changes, and trying to keep track of the latest version. This is hard enough when only two people are collaborating. Get three or more people in the mix, and it’s nearly impossible to keep up as emails go back in fourth and every person puts in their two cents. Others have found that corporate file repositories, FTP servers, and shared network drives help to some degree. Rather than emailing files back and forth, everyone can access a document in the same storage location. But that doesn’t mean everyone can access it or make changes at the same time. This results in multiple versions of the same document, with everyone’s initials appended to the filename, and changes that need to be merged into a final version.

Organizations that have embraced cloud-based productivity platforms have fundamentally overhauled their approach to collaboration and file storage. Thanks to solutions like Office 365, it’s easier and faster than ever to work with collaborators inside and outside an organization. Because now, everyone can work on the same file – at the same time.

Where Office 365 shines.

According to Gartner, Inc., a research and advisory firm, a 2015 Gartner online survey of more than 2,000 respondents about the state of the digital workforce indicated that 70% of digital workers use cloud file storage and sharing tools for their work activities. A fourth of all respondents characterized by a stronger digital dexterity tend to have sentiments, behaviors and preferences that are clearly oriented toward personal, unsanctioned technology tools, including cloud storage and sharing service for productivity (which means IT isn’t involved, and may not even know). Increasingly, employees are tapping into cloud storage solutions from anywhere they choose, to boost productivity and make work easier. But not all of this is happening outside IT’s control. Factor in the wide, enterprise-approved uptake of Microsoft Office 365 for productivity and collaboration, and it’s easy to understand why collaborative platforms have become business-critical.

Collaborating using Office Online

Using Office Online for true co-authoring of a file will result in the following productivity gains, on top of those with using Office 365 Document Libraries: almost no turnover time!
True co-authoring can occur, because all reviewers can work in the same file at the same time – in the browser, or in their Office application – resulting in almost no turnover time. It’s like sitting in the same room all writing on the whiteboard at the same time. There is no waiting on each other’s work, and on top of that the reviewers can communicate about their work using Skype Chat, or comments.

Collaboration is like making music together

Compare collaborating on a file in a sequential way – as with Email attachments – with collaborating on a file simultaneously – as with Office Online – with the following analogy:
Musicians that each play an instrument in a song each record their part separately and sequential in a studio and finally it is all merged into a song. But suppose they would all play their instrument together. I mean, not as a band live show, but REALLY together.

Co-authoring impact

Co-authoring is a creative process and has impact on both the quantity and the quality of the contributions. If you want to calculate the value of co-authoring, you could look at gain in time (cost reduction), and the gain in result (quantity and quality of the content).

Working together has a positive impact on the co-creation. Through social interaction colleagues learn and build on each other’s knowledge. Pleasant cooperation results in a state of pleasure. People will always pursue this feeling, so will continue to do this. Resulting in an increase of the quantity of co-authoring content. Because these colleagues visit each other again and again, give each other feedback, vote and appreciate the quality of the content is also increasing. By the aggregation of information by groups working in co-creation, the results (decisions, proposals, contracts won) are much better than one could achieve as a single individual. Something known as ‘Wisdom of the crowds‘.

Brittany LeMaro