May 17, 2020

Expert insight: how to improve collaboration in the workplace

Digital Transformation
Harry Menear
4 min
Expert insight from thought leaders on improving collaboration in the modern, digital workplace
Learning how to work together more efficiently is sure to be a key driver amongst all businesses, but this is particularly important for large enterpris...

 Learning how to work together more efficiently is sure to be a key driver amongst all businesses, but this is particularly important for large enterprises who have disparate teams spread out across the world. As these teams need to be brought together through shared objectives and goals, the rapidly evolving landscape of technology is proving instrumental in helping companies navigate and implement new ways of working across geographies, so here we’ve compiled tips and tricks from four tech leaders in the space about how others can keep a culture of collaboration at the core of their business. 

Learning how to work together more efficiently is sure to be a key driver amongst all businesses, but this is particularly important for large enterprises who have disparate teams spread out across the world. As these teams need to be brought together through shared objectives and goals, the rapidly evolving landscape of technology is proving instrumental in helping companies navigate and implement new ways of working across geographies, so here we’ve compiled tips and tricks from four tech leaders in the space about how others can keep a culture of collaboration at the core of their business.  

Nadjya Ghausi, CMO of Prezi

“Collaboration in the workplace is critical in building a productive, competitive, organisation — after all, research shows that companies that promote it are five times more likely to be high performing.

“A perfect example of this is when teams need to create presentations that require many different people’s input - a tricky challenge when they are not in the same office or even country. What’s more is that each individual likely has a specific style of presenting and interacting with the audience. 

“In this example, the most effective way to help a whole team deliver a successful presentation is to use an online presentation tool that will allow them to easily collaborate, share ideas and co-edit their presentations. This way, you can also keep version control tight, ensuring that all team members are working on the most up-to-date content without duplicating work.

“For collaboration to work, it must be consistent and purposeful, with resources dedicated to it; the technologies that companies use are key to this. By focusing on a collaborative company culture with the right tools in place, any business can drive more consistent and impactful results.” 

 

Robbie O’Connor, Head of EMEA, Asana 

“There has been an explosion in the number of different software apps we use at work. These have been fantastic in allowing us to be more productive in our roles, but they can also lead to information silos and mean people today have to spend much more time in status meetings and sending or reading emails and messages, in order to coordinate work.

“Effective collaboration can only be achieved when there is a single place to centralise work, encourage information sharing and drive alignment with broader company goals. This will ensure every activity is driven by process and purpose, and that everyone has clarity on what work is being undertaken, who is responsible for that work and by when.”

Oliver Muhr, CEO, Starmind

“The business community today lives in Google Docs, Asana and Slack - collaboration has never been more powerful. However, these tools and others are built on documented knowledge, which makes up just 20% of workforce knowledge. The other 80% of knowledge remains undocumented; it resides in the minds of individual employees. The natural evolution in collaboration for businesses is in unlocking that hidden knowledge and revealing the expertise within an organisation at speed.  

For larger businesses in particular, which can have tens of thousands of employees, this is particularly crucial. With siloed management, globalised teams and high attrition rates, unless individuals proactively share knowledge, it's practically impossible to quickly find the right expert to answer a complex question. Artificial intelligence is overcoming this. By understanding who knows what, new solutions will identify and connect experts to questions asked in real-time, drastically cutting the time it takes for global business to collaborate, and empowering individuals to both share and grow their knowledge.”

Andrew Wray, UK Country Manager, Fiverr

“The digital revolution is changing how the world works together, and has made global collaboration easier than ever - especially when using freelancer platforms. You can now find an expert in almost anything, and engage them quickly and easily across borders without ever needing to meet them face-to-face. 

“What this means on a micro level is that it’s now far easier for individual businesses to outsource things they don’t know how to do - and to experiment in new areas with relatively low investment. So, businesses can focus on finding the best creatives - rather than simply looking for ones working nearby.”

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Jun 16, 2021

SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data

British Army
SAS
3 min
Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM, explains the important role that SAS is playing in the British Army’s digital transformation

SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation. 

“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.

In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”

Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.

Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”

SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”

With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.

“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”

Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.

“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”

 

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