This post will be explaining how digital collaboration is different from other forms of collaboration. We shall also be looking at the different components of digital collaboration and the various features digital collaboration solutions must have.
In the post-covid world, digital collaboration has become even more important and relevant. When it is implemented in the right manner, digital collaboration can lead to great benefits for an organization.
How is digital collaboration different?
Digital collaboration is greatly different from other forms of collaboration as it requires a digital platform or piece of technology. In this collaboration, the communication, discussions and other collaborative practices are implemented using digital technology. Digital collaboration is becoming increasingly used to promote workplace collaboration.
Through digital collaboration, team members can communicate, share knowledge, learn and discuss with each other. Digital collaboration tools can also be used for project management and knowledge management in an organization. Remote only companies rely highly on digital collaboration technology for their day-to-day operations.
Components of digital collaboration
The various components of digital collaboration are:
The people involved in the collaboration
The people are the most important part of the collaboration process. For the people to work closely with each other, the collaborative practices have to be implemented in an organized manner. The collaborative practices should be aligned intimately with the needs of the people. The collaboration should reduce the workload and help in achieving the goals.
The tools that are used for the collaboration
Digital tools are necessary for collaboration, especially when organizations are working remotely. Even though there are many digital collaboration tools available, the right tool with the necessary features should be selected for the team. An effective collaboration tool should be easy to use while offering good security and a variety of features.
The physical devices that help in the collaboration
The physical devices that help in the collaboration are also important elements of the collaborative process. These physical devices can be smartphones, computers, tablets, laptop devices, etc. that employees use.
Features a digital collaboration solution must have
For a digital collaboration tool or solution to be effective, it needs to have the following important features:
Great communication features
A great digital collaboration tool should offer plenty of solutions for communication between team members. Since many remote teams rely on these tools for communication, the tool should have versatile features of communication.
The digital collaboration tool should have features like instant messaging, voice calling and video calling. It should also have video-conferencing features to host virtual meetings. This can not only foster collaboration in the organization but can also cut costs for the organization.
Document and file sharing services
The digital collaboration tool or solution should have features that allow smooth file and document sharing between team members. The sharing process should also be seamless enough to allow file sharing with parties external to the organization.
Project management solutions
Many organizations use digital collaboration tools to enable project management and task management. It should be structured in such a manner that allows everyone to know what each team member is working on. In this way, progress can be easily tracked and problems can be solved at a faster rate.
Ability to customize access
The digital collaboration tool being used should also have the ability to allow access to some individuals while restricting access to others. Using this, highly sensitive and confidential information can be protected.
Strong security features
This is the most important feature a digital collaboration tool needs to have. As organizations deal with confidential information all the time, the digital collaboration tool needs to have strong security features like data encryption, firewalls, two-step authentications, etc.
This post has explained how digital collaboration is different from other forms of collaboration. We have also seen the different components of digital collaboration and the various features digital collaboration solutions must have.
Frequently asked questions: (How is digital collaboration different?)
Why is digital collaboration important?
Digital collaboration is when technology is used to promote workplace collaboration. Digital collaboration is highly important as:
It promotes communication
Digital collaboration allows seamless communication between employees of an organization. Due to the various features it provides, employees can choose the mode of communication as per their convenience and need. Instant messaging, voice calling and video calling are all common features in digital collaboration tools.
Digital collaboration tools also help in holding virtual meetings through video-conferencing features. This helps organizations cut costs from conducting meetings while also increasing meeting effectiveness. Digital collaboration tools can also help in creating flatter organizational structures by promoting inter-level communication and interaction.
It allows better document management and sharing
Digital collaboration tools can help in document and file sharing between the different employees. Thus, it can help in project management and task management as well. While using digital collaboration tools, employees can share information easily between themselves. In this manner, work productivity and efficiency increases.
It promotes knowledge sharing and learning
It can also lead to a better learning process in the organization. Through these tools, employees can interact better and thus can share knowledge more efficiently. Employees can also share other resources such as files and videos so that a particular concept is learned better.
It leads to better work-life balances
Due to digital collaboration, employees have access to their workspaces and work files all the time. They can also access it from any location and any device, provided there is a stable data connection. Using digital collaboration, employees can have better work-life balances as they can pay attention to the activities at home that require their presence.
It promotes work productivity
Digital collaboration also promotes work productivity as employees can work at a time which suits them better. While many employees can work productively in an office setting, some employees find themselves more productive when they are at home. For them, digital collaboration will be highly useful.
What are the different ways to collaborate?
Collaborations can occur in many different ways. It all depends on the goal that is to be achieved and the types of organizations that are involved in the collaboration. the different ways of collaborating are discussed below:
Networking collaboration between professionals
In this type of collaboration, individuals who have a shared interest interact with each other for learning, career development, and other purposes. These networks are usually semi-formal in nature. Many young professionals use these networks to find better opportunities, mentors and other resources in order to develop their careers.
Coalitions between organizations towards a shared goal
In coalition collaborations, organizations who want to influence another external organization collaborate together. Here, the members of the collaborating organizations take collective decisions in order to accomplish a certain goal. However, each organization gets to maintain its autonomy.
Movements for a larger cause
Movements are more like collective actions from a community or society at large. They usually target important social issues like power imbalances. These collaborations have a strong sense of community and bonding between the members who work for a long-term vision with long-term planning.
Strategic co-funding between organizations
In strategic co-funding, organizations collaborate together in order to pursue a shared goal. They align various programs together and come up with new strategies in order to achieve the common goal.
Strategic alliances for a common purpose
This collaboration allows organizations to work together while maintaining their independence. The organizations that are involved in the collaboration may come up with complementary strategies and programs for the same goal.
Collective impact initiatives for social issues
These collaborations target important social problems or issues. In this collaboration, highly influential persons from different sectors work together to bring awareness or to directly intervene and create social change.
Public-private partnerships for better services
These collaborations consist of a private sector organization and the government. These collaborate in order to provide better services to the general public or other benefits.
How can I improve my digital collaboration skills?
Digital collaboration skills are highly important as much of the communication and interaction done today is practiced online. Since digital collaboration is essential, let’s look at some of the skills you need to collaborate effectively.
Communication does not only mean verbal and non-verbal communication. Listening is a great part of communication which many people fail to develop. Effective communication is important as it helps you understand messages better and thus avoid conflicts. When you develop your communication skills, it can immensely improve your digital collaboration skills as well.
Generosity of ideas and knowledge
To be efficient at digital collaboration, you have to be generous enough to share your ideas and knowledge with others. You also have to lend your support to help other team members in their work. Collaboration is all about sharing, especially when it comes to credit. You can be a great collaborator if you have a good sense of generosity.
Patience and tolerance
The digital space is not exactly smooth all the time. When individuals work together, there can be conflicts, misunderstandings, miscommunication, ego-clashes, difference in opinions, etc. All of this can lead to obstacles and disruptions in the work process. It takes a lot of patience and understanding in order to overcome all of this and work toward the shared goal.
Humility and self-awareness
Self-awareness is important for collaboration as it allows a person to be aware of their various strengths and limitations. Humility is not always sought after, especially in the corporate world. However, when an individual is humble, they can learn better from others and are ready to ask for help. This allows inter-dependency which is great for collaboration.
Great online decorum
In order to be a great digital collaborator, you need to follow some rules of etiquette or decorum online. Different collaborations, however, require different etiquette based on the members of the collaboration and the organizational values and culture. A team needs to set down ground rules of collaboration prior to starting in order to foster a respectful environment.