Drop-in Collaboration Is Still a Pipe Dream
by Ken Dulaney
Remember the days when you could walk down the hall, drop into the office of a co-worker and have a chat about a work topic? Maybe you were stuck on an issue and wanted input, maybe you wanted to discuss something you were ruminating on, or maybe you wanted to catch up on a meeting you missed. With the extreme, distributed organizations of today pushed by the challenges of globalization, hiring the best workers wherever they might live, and the burden of commuting, more and more workers are not in the same locale. Also, digital business is bringing together more diverse groups that collectively must contribute to the customer journey but are not in the same proximity even when they are in the same building.
This blog explores what can be done to create the feeling of ‘drop-in’ collaboration, even when workers may be remote. Aragon believes that emerging business technology can be a vital way to bridge the gap between remote employees. We think that collaboration devices will play an increasingly central role in streamlining communal work in the near future. In 2020, the importance of effective collaboration in the workplace cannot be understated.
The Need for a ‘Drop-In’ Collaboration Solution
More and more companies around the world are turning to remote labor as a major organizational strategy for their workforces. Among business technology trends, remote work will become increasingly dominant, reshaping the industry around it accordingly. The business pressures mentioned above ensure that the percentages below have certainly grown. To that end, some business groups have mandated that employees must come into the office a minimum number of days. However, that might not be practical for all employees depending on their location.
It’s time for employees to have a dedicated collaboration device that is constantly connected to a collaboration application and set up so that employees can “drop-in” on other employees. Vendors are aware of this need. As of this writing, though, they have not yet pursued this vision as a product priority. New business technology that possessed a “drop-in” functionality would fill a much-needed niche in the collaboration device market. This feature would bypass the need to create a “meeting” and would work very much like text chat but with a more real-time feel. There would need to be controls to guard privacy for the employee, but these techniques are well understood as part of other communications modalities.
A complete Chromebook device today that can meet enterprise security and performance needs can be purchased for $200 after an enterprise discount. A dedicated collaboration device could easily be made for $100. Integration of video technology into more sophisticated desk phones is available today, but the price points keep them from being mass market collaboration devices. But vendors with different end user needs projections could easily make such devices at reasonable price points.
It’s time to rebuild the office. Drop-in collaboration is strategic for any business that wants to create a cohesive organization where employees feel more integrated into the mission of the business. It’s time to implore collaboration vendors to pursue drop-in collaboration more aggressively.
In the coming years, innovative vendors will distinguish themselves by focusing on business technology that meets the collaboration needs of the transforming workplace. As remote work continues to outpace traditional labor organizations, the need for advanced collaboration devices will grow, creating exciting opportunities for market entrants.