An optimist’s view of post-COVID collaboration technology + culture

Photo by Jud Mackrill on Unsplash

I’ve been following a lot of the writing coming out about enterprise collaboration amidst the pandemic. Based on my experience, I think the post-COVID-19 collaboration stack could be something to behold. I can see market leaders swapping in and out, plus some transformative changes to collaborative culture for organizations concerned about such things.

Here’s an optimistic view of enterprise collaboration in a post-COVID working world:

Pared-back management overhead

The story goes that management clears away blockers for project teams. I’ve been on some project teams where the VPs and directors outnumbered the people doing the work. They became blockers. Such a top-heavy team composition brought communications and collaboration issues as managers contradicted each other and tried to run the ball in the direction they saw fit. Unfortunately, that direction frequently didn’t coincide with the agreed-upon project timeline.

Smart organizations will use the pandemic’s remote work to dial into and learn about how their teams collaborate. Weighty reporting can cost your teams productivity gains from work from home and what I call management in stereo when you have to update multiple managers on the team.

Companies that come out as winners in the post-COVID world will be the ones that put their collaboration lessons from the pandemic into practice and pared back the management overhead on their project teams.

Complementary team knowledge as a competitive advantage

Teams forced to go remote during the pandemic will have to change their knowledge transfer and learning style under the stress of things.

Teams who learn to combine their members’ expertise into complementary team roles will have an advantage over those dependent on entities outside their project team. For example, a marketing team that can bring together their technical market knowledge, SEO, and content creation under the umbrella of their team will be in better shape than the group that overly depends on other departments or contracting out work to third parties.

Content in the front; analytics in the back

Microsoft Productivity Score hit some snags during its introduction. Analytics will play a part in collaboration platform management in the post-pandemic world. Teams still have much to learn from their documents and other content perform on their platform.

Analytics problems will fix themselves for some enterprises the more they delve into their collaboration platforms and platform super users turn on features to see how they work. I also predict that one or more SaaS collaboration platforms will

Cloud and SaaS first

The pandemic made a choice easy for commercial and public sector enterprises by pushing them to the cloud if they weren’t already there. Enterprises already in the cloud for collaboration will find themselves first to clean up their management and governance of cloud tools, especially SharePoint and other tools that haven’t been getting the proper care and feeding for sometimes years.

Post-Covid, I expect to see the last of the on-premise collaboration platforms lingering in cobwebs. Enterprises will go through a period when they reconcile the shadow IT and even organization-mandated collaboration solutions against their new reality. Some organizations will remain fully remote. Others will shoot for a hybrid model. Then again, some may return to their offices en masse (eventually).

Improved and self-service support

Show me a user who’s had ongoing negative experiences with their organization’s service desk. I’ll show you a user who’ll do whatever necessary to work around collaboration platforms to get their job done. IT support as a responsive (and knowledgeable) service desk is the part of the collaboration stack that enterprises ignore. Self-service support will also play an integral role in the post-COVID collaboration stack, enabling users to fix their platform issues (within reason) themselves.

Post-Covid collaboration reality

Collaboration slips down the list of corporate priorities for a range of reasons. It wasn’t until COVID-19 forced workers to head home to work that enterprises could no longer hide their collaboration mistakes and challenges as the collaboration platform rose from checkbox IT to a strategic necessity.

My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical marketing manager for a container security startup. Before that, I worked as a technical writer. My articles about DevOps, DevSecOps, cloud, and enterprise mobility have been published by TechTarget, InfoWorld, InfoQ, and other leading sites. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.

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Product marketer and writer | Learn more about me at http://t.co/KbdzVFuD.

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Will Kelly

Will Kelly

Product marketer and writer | Learn more about me at http://t.co/KbdzVFuD.

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