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Collaboration has always been a crucial part of business. It drives innovation, increases workplace efficiency and facilities effective communication.

This isn’t exactly news though.

For some time now, smart businesses have been taking steps to adopt agile working practices and shift away from traditional workplace models that have limited the scope for effective collaboration with stakeholders, partners and employees.

Unsurprisingly, the key to this is technology.

But technology is evolving, bringing with it even greater potential for collaboration. As a result, the message is clear for today’s businesses: keep a close eye on the technologies that could influence the way you conduct business.

With this in mind, we’ve outlined the top collaboration trends you need to consider.

1. Millennials Are Shaping The Future Workplace
The oldest millennials are now in their mid-30s and are quickly becoming the driving force behind today’s business world (especially in the US where they account for the majority of the labour force).

Playing such a prominent role in the future of business, it’s no surprise that millennials are actively shaping the future of the workplace. In fact, with Deloitte research showing that 66% expect to leave their organisations by the end of 2020, millennial talent is actively forcing businesses to reconsider their approaches.

Having grown up with access to the internet, millennials are more familiar than most with online networking, social media prospecting and technology collaboration tools. This is something that is also reflected in their preferred approaches to work. In a study commissioned by organisational collaboration experts Polycom, it was found that 78% of millennials feel access to collaboration technology enables them to become more productive at work.

But this isn’t all they expect.

With many successful businesses already taking clear steps to implement agile working practices into their workplace cultures, we can expect mobile working to become an inextricable part of workplace collaboration.

Whether it’s through video conferencing technology or the increasing number of online business collaboration and project management tools available online, we’re already seeing mobile working shape the workplace at its most fundamental level.

The future workplace will not be one defined by geographical location, it will be wherever you are. The workplace of the future is about the ability to perform tasks from any location, on any device, at any time with (at least) the same level of productivity as is achieved in the traditional office.

And the research supports this.

According to Accenture’s 2016 Technology Vision Report, businesses are realising that ‘traditional methods cannot keep up with the pace of change in the digital age’. The report also highlights the needs for businesses to follow in the footsteps of their more forward-thinking counterparts, creating liquid workforces and agile workplaces that are ‘built to and for change’.

This change, is one that we feel will be be driven by collaboration through mobile devices. By easily, reliably and consistently connecting multiple devices, personal systems and group collaboration tools, the future will see the barriers of communication significantly reduced. And from stakeholder meetings to collaborative design projects, this means more productivity, and better business.

By now we’re all familiar with the cloud. It has always offered vast, unique potential for delivering collaboration services and with security no longer the primary challenge, cloud computing is becoming an even more attractive option for enterprises looking to find new ways of collaborating, and procuring and consuming services.

What’s more, with small businesses often regarding collaboration solutions as a somewhat unattainable luxury, the scalability of cloud computing (and easier access to collaboration services) offers a helping hand, placing many businesses on equal grounding with bigger ones.

But what’s really exciting is that the future of the cloud will extend beyond collaboration connectivity alone.

Specifically, we can expect a whole host of new over-the-top (OTT) collaboration services to emerge in 2016. Bearing in mind that OTT applications (such as Skype) disrupt traditional service delivery and billing models by providing a service over the internet, we can expect OTT collaboration services to offer businesses increased cost-effectiveness, productivity and interactivity in the future.

2015 saw collaboration experts Polycom predict that greater enterprise globalisation would lead to an increased demand for visual collaboration tools. As globalisation continues to grow throughout the business world, this prediction is looking all the more accurate.

With this in mind, it’s likely that 2016 will be the year that video capture find its feet. See, regardless of how effective a communications network is, businesses have always struggled with the time zone challenges of a global workforce – and this is a problem that needs solving.

In 2016, we are confident that more and more businesses will follow a ‘follow the sun’ philosophy to conquer time zones, and collective memory will be the key.

By collective memory, we’re referring to the ability to capture and share key information across entire enterprises – something that will be driven by technology and collaboration tools.

Specifically, we can expect businesses to continue adopting tools that allow them to both capture audio, video and content in realtime during collaborative projects, and support playback and analysis at any time, from any location. This will allow businesses to maximise productivity and the potential for learning through work.

As we have highlighted, collaboration is central to the level of organisational agility required to become a smart, lean and profitable business.

But this agility needs to be driven by technology, and choosing the right technology for your business can be a daunting challenge in itself.

To help you find the right technology and tools to become an agile business, we’ve created a comprehensive guide detailing exactly what organisational agility means to the modern business, the real benefits it offers, and how you can use collaboration to transform your business into a more flexible and profitable solutions provider.

To download our ‘Enabling Organisational Agility’ Report, click HERE

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