Use of Collaborative Technologies in Today’s Business World
Modern information technologies have enabled companies to obtain, sock, process, and share data as well as knowledge. Powerful networking systems such as Intranets allow shareholders of a company to communicate and share complimentary information through the use of collaborative technologies. Group communication and information processing have become common with the emergence of e-collaborating tools (Merono-Cerdan, Soto-Acosta, and López-Nicolás, 2007). Throughout the corporate processes, collaboration has been a significant factor in determining bsuiness success or failure. Traditional businesses were located in some geographical location; very few of them spanned multiple locations, especially internationally. However, with the development of transport and fast communication, globalization opened the world to distributed production, exports, and the ability to have many business branches. With this development came the need to have communication channels that did not necessitate face-to-face meetings. At first, people used letters, and then emails after the prevalence of the internet. However, recent developments in software creation bore better tools that allowed instant collaboration even between people in different nations.
How and Why Are Organizations Using These Technologies?
With the use of mobile business solutions whose backbone is wireless technology, businesses processes have become simpler to implement. New Zealand is one of the countries that have widely accepted the use of wireless technologies as part of the normal business routine. Advancements in mobile device technology and the internet, have driven the concept of mobile business (m-business) in New Zealand (). Organizations make use of collaborative technologies due to the profound positive impacts that they have had to their profit margins, employee performance, and customer retention. Mobile business solutions deliver a large pool of outcomes such as automation of sales, tracking, navigation, mobile offices, and wireless telemetry.
These include the use of conferencing tools that allow users from across diverse geographical locations to share information and hold meetings. Employees can make use of instant messaging like Skype for business, where they can hold chat conversations in groups or even hold conference meetings from their respective branches of the company. In these meetings, even customers can participate from the convenience of their homes. Today, Skype is rated one of the best video conferencing software globally, with instant document sharing plus stable connections. The paid plan of this software permits business conferences of up to two hundred and fifty people, compatibility with office plus strong security (Finances Online, 2018).
Document repositories and shared databases
Employees can now collaborate on projects from wherever they are in the world. Even better, is the availability of a shared database that anyone can access so long as they have an internet connection. Data warehouses ensure that data from diverse sources is available and usable to meet the needs of the company (Hinson, 2018). Other repositories like GIT allow developers to share their code and cooperate as a team while working on projects from wherever they are (Vasilescu, Filkov, and Serebrenik, 2015).
The advancement of automobile technology is one of the biggest uses of wireless technology and collaboration. The industry uses this technology to improve navigation, integrate drivers with relevant parties like emergency services while enhancing safety (Editor, n.d.). Integration of vehicles with smartphones will allow personalization if the driving experiences and reduce the scope of errors by drivers hence reducing the number of road accidents. Advancements like GPS mean that drivers that are not familiar to their geographical location can now comfortably drive while getting instant assistance from navigation software. Some of the GPS software allows the driver to receive directions through audio; therefore a driver does not need to take their eyes off the road. Even more interesting is the availability of taxi ordering, that led to the propagation of the taxi business. Companies like Uber made it easy for a customer to order a taxi and provide directions that the driver can easily follow to get to her the customer is (Kirkland, 2018). The company has reaped great profits from giving customers the convenience to know whether a taxi is available to pick them up even at night with just a click of a finger.
Benefits and Cost Saving from Use of the Technology
The benefits of collaborative technologies benefit both the internal personnel and external stakeholders of the organization. The alliance among employees, customers, and suppliers has helped the business to align the needs of the consumers with the different ways in which suppliers can fulfill these needs. The continuous flow of information is independent of spatial or temporal limitations (Lee and Jun, 2007; Passerini, Patten, and Bartolacci, 2007). New advancements in information technology, especially the field of data mining, has created value through cost-effective analysis of customer data. This information is used to map their needs and align them with the relevant suppliers, hence saving on costs of purchasing and storing unnecessary stock.
Another key value proposition is that customer relations are convenient, localized, and personalized depending on the location. Most organizations today have on-standby customer support that consumers have access to at any time of the day and from the convenience of their homes. Moreover, each customer device is unique and produces unique information about the behavior and preferences of the consumer. Collaborative databases like data warehouses help the company to collect vast amounts of data about customers and use it for personalized marketing. The study conducted by Passerini, Patten, and Bartolacci (2007) revealed that when customers receive personalized marketing, they are more receptive of mobile advertising. Other benefits that organizations realize is real-time security from the interaction between on-site security devices, personnel and off-site persons (Staheli et al., 2016). Companies can also form partnerships and share data as well as resources such as backup data centers.
Challenges or Potential Problems of Using Collaborative Technologies
There are some challenges that businesses face while integrating collaborative tools like additional expenditure. To have the features of Microsoft Skye available to the stakeholders, the business needs additional hardware and software in their data center. Additionally, the company needs to purchase a stable server for its data warehouse and data mining, and data warehousing experts. Perhaps the biggest challenge with collaboration is the issue of network security. The availability of collaboration over the internet poses the risk of hacking and data losses. However, as is evident, the benefits of using collaborative software far outweigh the challenges. Even where the company spends money in the short term, in the long run, the costs saved from cheap communication and data sharing allow value realization. Today, there is a large pool of security tools and software that companies can use to protect their networks and data from theft or loss. Tools like Skype come with strong encryption features to protect video conferences and files in transit.
Modern information technologies have enabled companies to obtain, sock, process, and share data as well as knowledge. Throughout the business processes, collaboration has been a significant factor in determining their success or failure. Recent developments in software creation bore better tools that allowed instant collaboration even between people in different nations. Some of the uses that business has for collaborative tools include discussion forums, document repositories, shared databases, improved navigation, and secure driving. These tools allow convenience, reduced costs, personalized advertising, conferencing, project collaboration, and real-time security. However, there is an additional cost that comes with the initial purchase of software, as well as the risk of data theft and loss. All in all, the benefits outweigh the challenges, and more organizations should consider adopting these tools in their business processes.