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I had the privilege of presenting at the recent MWLUG conference in DC to discuss the future of collaboration.

A full video of my presentation can be found HERE.

The key points of my argument for better, more engaging and productive collaboration are as follows.

  1. Use case driven – collaboration today is too much about forcing a platform or device onto users. We all know what then happens… dead accounts, BYOD, and FB Messenger mayhem. In order for collaboration to truly deliver value it needs to be built with specific teams in mind. If the use case is missing, and if your collaboration tool and features don’t support that use case, then you stand no chance. If, instead, you’re able to empower small teams to do their job better, easier, faster you’ll become their best friend. Start with a narrow use case, nail it – then grow.
  2. Data first – there are too many opinions in collaboration. It’s great that everybody now is only one click of the mouse away and we all seem to turn into experts on the most esoteric topics in consequence. And opinions are great, necessary and encouraged in fact. Data though, needs to be the foundational layer of these conversations and team efforts. Understanding what the right data source for a specific use case/team is, integrating that into your collaboration environment, and making it smart and easy to use, is the key to taking collaboration to a productive level.
  3. AI enabled – dozens of use cases, highly complex big data, behavioral insights, content recommendations, the list goes on and on. Traditional computing systems cannot handle collaboration in 2017 anymore. It’s too big, too fragmented, too difficult. AI can solve this puzzle, in fact, I believe that collaboration is one of the first, true business use cases for AI that really works. Understanding unstructured data, cognitive insights, machine learning and conversational UI are prime technologies to address the issues of today’s collaboration platforms and turn them from a zoo into a space rocket lab.
  4. Delivered by an ecosystem of partners – doing all of this takes (you guessed it!) a collaborative effort. No one vendor and no one consultant (and no, not even your own IT team) can do this alone. Look for ecosystems of partners that each specialize in specific aspects of this equation… the use case definition, the data sources, the insights and recommendations, the awesome UI/UX. And if these partners have built flexible micro services that allow simple integrations, or even better, have already tied the knot, then you should take a serious look at how this can potentially transform your collaboration efforts.

How do you see the future of collaboration? Where do you disagree or see gaps?

I look forward for your feedback and a fun discussion!

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