The popularity of UC systems is growing more every year. In fact, recent research indicates that the market will see a CAGR growth rate of 12.3%, leading to a value of $46.61 billion by 2020. More than ever, companies facing a changing business are beginning to understand how UC can help them better serve clients and employees alike.
Perhaps the biggest trend driving the adoption of UC is digital transformation (DX) and the rise of the digital workforce. At its core, the digital workforce thrives on the idea that people should be able to access the tools they need to perform, wherever they are, and whatever device they use. Combine that with the ever-emerging move to cloud communications and agile methodologies, and you’ve got an environment primed for UC.
As the workplace innovates faster, breaches global boundaries, and discovers new opportunities, UC is the path to better connections and productivity.
Communication vs. Collaboration
The words “communication” and “collaboration” appear so closely together in the modern world that some people have begun to believe that they mean the same thing.
After all, thanks to the widespread popularity of UC, and communication apps equipped with collaboration tools, it’s easy to see how the two concepts go hand-in-hand. In fact, collaboration in the workforce simply can’t exist without good communication. However, just because the two ideas connect on a fundamental level, doesn’t mean they’re the same thing.
So, what’s the difference?
The Difference Between Collaboration & Communication
All companies need communication to thrive.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a small business of 3 or 4 people or a huge enterprise with dedicated call centres – you need communication. A communication strategy can come in various forms. Most organisations have:
- An external communication strategy: The plan they use to connect with customers, clients, shareholders, and suppliers. Increasingly, external communication plans are becoming omnichannel, stretching all the way from VoIP, to social media, SMS, and more.
- An internal communication strategy: This is the plan that firms use to keep internal staff members connected. It ensures that remote workers can connect with in-office employees through video conferences, and everyone can stay in touch in real-time through instant messaging. Like external communication, internal communication often involves multiple channels.
Collaboration comes into the “internal communication” strategy. Where communication is about sharing knowledge, collaboration is about actively working together to achieve mutual goals. For instance, if you call someone on a VoIP channel to talk about an upcoming project, it’s communication. However, if while you’re talking, you also start sharing screens and editing a project together, then it’s collaboration.
Essentially, collaboration brings action to the communication space.
Understanding Collaboration and Communication
The fact that collaboration and communication are so closely connected is what makes them so hard to distinguish at times. Even the “collaboration tools” we see on the market today can blur the definitions a little. After all, Slack is often touted as a collaboration tool, but sending someone a message on Slack doesn’t mean you’re collaborating. The option to collaborate is available, but you need to act if you want to go beyond communication.
Ultimately, collaboration in the modern workforce is about providing an avenue for employees, executives, or anyone else in a business to work together on the same project – no matter where they are.
While today, the conversation about “collaboration” is heating up, it’s important to remember that communication will always be an underlying ingredient of good collaboration. Without communication, we’d be left with multiple people working on their own versions of a project, using the same tool. Communication provides the insight and knowledge to connect minds across the workforce.
Get Communication Right, and the Rest Will Follow
Communication and collaboration are natural partners in the digitally transforming and globally-distributed workforce. However, before any enterprise can begin to successfully invest in collaboration tools, they first need to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their communication strategy.
If communication isn’t clear, accessible, and easy to use across a range of touchpoints, then collaboration can’t work. Empower your people to share knowledge; then you can help them to work together on tasks.
Interstate Electronic Systems has a team trained to help business tech leaders usher in this new era of innovation.