Article by M-Files A/NZ alliance and partner manager, Chris Smith. Tue 14 Jun 2022
Through digitalisation, project collaboration has become more widespread and flexible than ever. New tools, applications, and software have enabled project collaboration to continue remotely, both between employees within an organisation and with its clients. According to a survey from the Australian Institute of Project Management and KMPG, there was a 74% increase in collaboration tools used for project management during the pandemic.
However, dysfunctional collaboration practices are putting the success of projects at risk through confusion and complexity.
Knowledge workers have more ways than ever to communicate with clients in today’s business age, and as such, client expectations are only increasing. Providing best-in-class service requires more transparency, personalisation, and efficient processes, especially when it comes to project collaboration.
However, with so much information created, saved, and shared across various systems, emails, and applications, projects are often falling or not being completed on time because of dysfunctional practices. Unfortunately, the more employees take this challenge into their own hands, the more confusion and complexity it creates for the wider team.
Organisations need to review their client collaboration projects regularly to determine whether internal business processes are proving detrimental to collaboration success.
There are five important warning signs to be aware of:
1. Misinformation, missing files, and document minefields
While adopting new applications and software can streamline document management and upgrade outdated legacy systems, it can also create a minefield of fragmented information. Finding specific documents can often take employees a great deal of time, sometimes even hours. Then, version control issues mean that determining which is the most recent version can take even more time. The cost of this time often impacts other elements of the project and can affect the organisation’s profitability.
2. Missed, forgotten, and delayed deadlines
Deadlines and target dates are at a higher risk of not being met when documents and workflows are not managed effectively. This can damage the business’s reputation and even put it at risk of non-compliance with industry requirements.
3. Poor response times to clients
Clients like to be kept in the loop or have regular project updates shared with them. However, when responses from employees are delayed, the firm can look inefficient and lose trust. In some cases, failing to respond promptly can put the customer at risk of missing important deadlines, which can significantly jeopardise the company’s relationship with the client.
4. Security risks
Data breaches and security leaks are at a higher risk of occurring in today’s business environment. Not only are cyber adversaries actively looking to exploit organisations, but using new applications, working remotely, and sharing sensitive information via emails have contributed to the heightened risk of a breach. Businesses must address this increased risk by modernising the way information is shared and ensuring those sharing mechanisms are secure.
5. Growing client turnover
Lost trust, unsuccessful projects, and dysfunctional collaboration can lead to client departures. Especially given the increased pressure in the heightened competitive market, customers expect organisations to go above and beyond expectations. Reputation is everything for a business, and should a data leak happen or unsatisfactory outcomes be shared among clients, this is likely to result in a growing turnover.
A modern and smart information management solution can address all five of these warning signs by leveraging tools such as artificial intelligence. The right solution will provide a single source of information with full version control, collaboration support, and the ability to work with information regardless of where it’s stored. Organisations can save time and collaborate more effectively by working with information based on what it is rather than where it’s saved.
Information management solutions can also align workflows to prompt process automation, mitigating the risk of missed deadlines. Metadata-driven architecture provides a more efficient, simplified way of categorising information and finding documents across repositories.
It’s now more important than ever for companies to review their collaboration processes and ensure that, moving forward, employees have the most streamlined processes to meet project expectations. This will result in better and more successfully delivered projects and, in turn, build better client relationships.
Information and data are ever-growing, and the key to managing this and collaborating with clients most efficiently lies in the firm’s internal information management.