Innovations in workplace communication have sought to improve collaboration between teams and across enterprises. Although email remains a standard method of both internal and external communication, it is not necessarily suited for the volume of today’s workload and overflowing email inboxes that lead to stress and missed communications are a common problem. Though more urgent and immediate, phone communications can be interruptive and people will rarely phone unless something is very important or an instant answer is required.
More recently, messaging apps specifically for enterprises such as Slack and HipChat have filled a gap by providing urgent but less interruptive communications. Messaging apps provide certain needs from a number of different communication methods such as the written trail of communication that comes with email, the immediacy of a phone call and integrations with other tools across multiple devices so people can stay constantly connected.
Workstream collaboration takes this even further, bringing content from other apps into one centralised workstream and creating a portal where the user can communicate and share content in one place. This removes the frustration of users having to switch between disparate and siloed communication methods depending on who they need to contact and what kind of conversation they are having. It reduces the likelihood of missed communications and provides the user with the information they need where they are, rather than them having to search for it themselves.
Workstream collaboration creates a persistent, shared conversational workspace that assists teams with initiating, organising and completing work. This includes persistent messaging, alerts, notifications, search, archiving, activity streams and content-sharing functionalities. They are typically connected with other business and consumer applications via APIs and bots.
The applications for this kind of collaborative communication are varied. The speed and collaboration facilitated by workstream collaboration align with the DevOps agenda to reduce friction between IT development and operations, breaking down the silo between these departments and allowing for more transparency. Collaboration between other departments can work in the same way and workstream collaboration can also be useful when teams have to be formed quickly and share expertise such as in cases of rapid incident response or exception handling.
Work has evolved and the tools we use for work should too. The methods that worked best ten or twenty years ago don’t meet the needs of today with the speed that change happens, geographically diverse teams and shifting teams and roles. Experts keeping information in silos is not beneficial to the company or people in it and so easing the transfer of information has become an important aim.
The enterprise tools that replaced handwritten letters and manual ledgers have worked for the past few decades but in today’s technology landscape they can’t keep up with requirements. Technology that increases collaboration, transparency, efficiency and flexibility will become increasingly common and necessary in enterprises and workstream collaboration is just one instance where tools can empower users and reduce the necessity for manual effort.