Social tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, now trump email as the primary means of sharing in the consumer world. Similarly, manufacturing enterprises are now looking to harness the power of collaboration solutions to improve business results.
The broadcast generation from the industrial age is being conjoined by a collaborative generation from the new social media age. The old ways of staying within ones four walls to solve problems in isolation are gone. The new generation is interactive, collaborative and has grown up using social networking tools. And for innovative product companies in Silicon Valley and the world eager to maximize business results—that’s not just cool—that’s powerful.
Let’s demystify the term “social collaboration.” Simply put, it’s just a series of conversations—chats, debates, sharing of knowledge—used to solve a problem. It involves assembling people, asking questions, collecting ideas, surfacing information and getting feedback on deliverables. It’s the way most work gets done—whether it’s memorialized or not.
The way work gets done is by people working with people, bouncing ideas off each other, tapping into each other’s expertise, harvesting each other’s knowledge and insights while re-purposing each other’s output.
These informal garage band jam sessions can turn improvised riffs into product feature Top Ten singles.
A great deal of the value of social networking comes from connections with people not directly working on a specific project or—what sociologist Mark Granovetter calls—the “strength of weak ties.” Until recently, collaboration solutions have focused on making direct, “strong ties,” or active working relationships, efficient and effective. But it is “weak ties” that can unblock and accelerate group productivity. These connections offer new perspectives, ideas and understandings.
What that simply means is this: that office pariah hiding under their desk in the cubicle pushed to the periphery of the office might know something very critical to the success of your project—despite the fact that s/he is way, way, way unconnected to your product design team. Without a next generation collaboration solution, you might not know this individual exists—let alone have the answer to your problem. With their important contribution, you might even be motivated to share an adult beverage or go trip the light fantastic with your newfound social collaborator.
Your new social bff’s contribution could make your product a success, and your kindness might change their life. That’s the unspoken power of next generation collaboration.
Do you know the story Bartleby the Scrivener by Herman Melville? Nor do I. But if I did know that story, I bet Bartleby would have never said “I prefer not to” if he had a collaboration solution that would have allowed him to connect better with his colleagues.
But I digress. I was taking a selfie and became distracted. Let’s continue discussing the features and benefits of a modern collaboration solution.
The collaboration solution should provide a variety of quick and easy ways to make better associations and build stronger ties among collaborators to get work done faster and yield more informed and innovative outcomes.
The solution should let people stay in touch with a large network of colleagues, allowing them to keep up to date automatically with that others are doing, working on, and producing. Or you can opt-out if your email inbox is filling up. The unproductive time it takes for team members to send endless emails informing each other of what they are working on and their progress on those items should be virtually eliminated.
Because the power of shared knowledge is business value, Arena is launching Arena Scribe, a unique, easy to use, secure and flexible collaboration solution with a real time commenting page. No other product lifecycle management (PLM) provider on the market has a social collaboration solution that integrates with the product record and aggregates a product’s permanent history of tribal knowledge. Product design is a dynamic process, driven by the collective input of globally dispersed supply chain teams. The implications of enterprise social collaboration run deeper than knowledge sharing or quick communication.
You can learn more about the power of modern collaboration tools in Arena’s new whitepaper “Next Generation Collaboration.” In this treatise, which was just nominated for an Academy Award in the new category of ‘Totally Awesome Whitepapers’, readers will learn:
- Advantages of a collaboration solution over email
- The business value of a formal business and rollout strategy
- How to scale enterprise-wide tool adoption
- Benefits of collaborating within the product record
Just as Excel’s one-dimensional spreadsheets fails as a tool for managing bill of materials (BOMs), as complexity and rate of product change moved to warp speed, so does email fall short of the knowledge-sharing potential that only next-generation collaboration solutions can unlock. A collaboration tool breeds co-creation, shared value, and a culture of sharing that can be leveraged beyond the network. The social approach brings benefits that are best measured not by decontextualized statistics, but instead by the invaluable impact of employees working together in a simple, immediate and frictionless way to further tear down the barriers between personal social networks and professional silos.
Click here to get your copy of the “Next Generation Collaboration” whitepaper and discover how Arena’s new software collaboration solution can help you unlock the shared knowledge of your human capital.