Collaboration is a key success factor in achieving a goal and the main way to collaborate is to be connected to the information you need.
Information is found in many places and many people contribute information in a decision process. Today, collaboration means Websites, Portals, Twitter, Blogs, YouTube and more. Everyone uses these vehicles to share information and spread discussion. Email used to be the number one way to share information but you had to wait for the person to sign on to their email account to read the emails and obtain a response.
Today you tweet your thoughts or comments and look for a response that gives you a new thought or a different point of view. It does not mean that email is dead but dynamics are changing. The best way for you to communicate with people is to use the tool that they use regularly; you need to make sure you are using the right tool to connect with the various individuals you work with. This could mean using a combination of tools to collaborate. Websites such as www.cpatrendlines.com use many tools to connect to the pulse of the group they collaborate with. The site is a very active one with sections for tweeting, blogging, and You Tube videos to make points.
In essence cpatrendlines is a Portal. Wikipedia defines a portal by the following “a web portal or links page is a web site that functions as a point of access to information on the World Wide Web. A portal presents information from diverse sources in a unified way.” This brings me to main part of my comments in that I believe that every professional service business needs to have a secure portal to communicate information back and forth with their clients. The article in the February 2010 edition of the Journal of Accountancy is a good one to read on this topic.
Web Portals allow for 24/7 access. They are a place for your client and your firm to communicate, store, and exchange information as needed. Auto notifications lets you know that information has been placed in it and speeds up the process allowing you to complete your task much more efficiently than sorting through emails or documents received in the mail.
Collaboration is all about being connected and being on the web keeps you connected anywhere, anytime. From Steve Ballmer’s announcement last week, it looks like Microsoft also agrees with this point, with the promotion of its new cloud Office product.
At this point I think I have connected the “C”s. The use of the cloud will keep you connected and allow you to collaborate as long as the firm’s culture accepts the change in process. Does anyone remember when they used typewriters and pencils? The process has changed and it is time to embrace the new methodologies.