Collaboration And Communication: How Midsize Businesses Prevent The Hidden Casualties Of Growth

Daisy Hernandez

Part 4 of the “6 Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” series

Growth happens in a variety of ways – anticipated and unexpected, rapid spurt and prolonged buildup, traditional markets and new emerging segments. But the impact on midsize businesses is all the same, from production delays and supply chain disruptions to stock-outs and a dramatic rise in customer complaints. More importantly, as leaders and employees work feverishly together to address these issues, it becomes clear that no one is on the same page.

Although midsize businesses may find this disconnect troublesome, it’s really a sign of change that every growing company must face to reach the next stage of its success story. In other words, it’s time to think differently about collaboration and communication.

Establishing a common language of intelligence and alignment

According to the IDC Infobrief “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” midsize businesses that achieve profitable growth, high customer satisfaction and employee engagement, and sustainable revenue growth use internal and external communication and collaboration technology more often than less successful companies. Why? Investment in communication and collaboration tools, when combined with training and governance, allows the entire workforce and leadership team to develop a common language of data intelligence and aligned goals.

Technology adoption among midsize businessesSource:Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” IDC InfoBrief, sponsored by SAP, 2019.

The practices that strengthen the training and governance aspects of adopting communication and collaboration technology include: 

1. Align the adoption of collaboration and communication technology around functional goals

A good business initiative always starts with aligning around the goals and needs of its functional areas. Organizations must figure out which challenges are driving the company and consider which people, processes, and technologies they need to put into effect. Goals can include high-level priorities such as employee engagement, talent development, and workplace culture, or more-tactical objectives including cost reduction, operational speed, and revenue growth. 

2. Pinpoint areas that could most benefit from collaboration and communication

To establish successful collaboration and communication strategies, it’s essential to include business areas that want to change as much as they need and will benefit from it. For example, the IT function is often considered as a primary stakeholder because it owns, maintains, and governs the company’s knowledge base. Yet, HR and marketing organizations are also considerable benefactors because they inform everything that affects the employee experience as well as the customer experience. When all three areas are pulled together as early adopters, they can work together to innovate, refine, and establish more efficient and intelligent ways of working.

3. Audit the collaboration and communication capabilities of each function

Most companies have at least a limited view into their operations, even if it’s just email. However, the resulting insight and understanding can be skewed and incomplete if individual teams are using their own collaboration and communication tools in a siloed manner. That’s why it’s critical to bring all stakeholders together and talk about what tools are currently in an organization’s ecosystem.

4. Launch and continuously monitor and optimize the technology

The success of collaboration and communication technology depends on whether business leaders and employees agree that their daily work is simpler, decision-making is more accurate and timely, and customer interactions are more productive. And for this reason, the overall implementation should be an iterative process of testing, measuring, learning, and refining to address evolving demands and requirements.

Fostering unification, connection, and purpose in times of growth

Adopting collaboration and communication technology is a big moment for midsize companies. Employees can understand better how their role fits into the overall business mission and can do their part without creating costly overlaps or gaps. Decision making is more precise and delivers outcomes faster when the right people access data-driven insights at the right time, no matter where they are. And these advantages translate into better products and services, which, ultimately, increases customer satisfaction.

However, the level of collaboration and communication needed to bring about these capabilities cannot be acquired overnight solely by adopting the latest technology. By adopting best practices, midsize companies can ensure the right skills, data, processes, and experiences are in place to drive a sense of unified connection and purpose – no matter how aggressive, persistent, and fast growth happens.

Get a real-world view of how your attitude and mindset toward digitalization can turn your company into a best-run business. We invite you to bookmark our series landing page “Six Attitudes of Best-Run Midsize Businesses” and check it for new insights and best practices.

In the meantime, read the IDC Infobrief “Becoming a Best-Run Midsize Company: How Growing Companies Benefit from Intelligent Capabilities,” sponsored by SAP, to discover the opportunities ahead for best-run midsize businesses.

Daisy Hernandez

About Daisy Hernandez

Daisy Hernandez is Global VP of Product Management at SAP. Under her executive leadership she leads product management and enablement for SAP Jam Collaboration. She is an experience professional who has held several leadership positions with specialties in social software, collaboration applications, cloud computing, enterprise software, agile methodologies and management.