You can agree to the data requirements, frequency, and integration standards across your collaboration partners necessary to support and improve the communications and collaboration across partners.  You cannot however very easily dictate the tools that will be utilized to support these requirements.  The beauty of the cloud capabilities and Internet connectivity is that it eliminates the necessity to settle on a common tool platform.  This has been the great benefit of first the Internet and then the cloud technology.  This discussion is not about the impressive capabilities that you can leverage from the cloud and Internet, though.  This discussion is about how you can improve your efficiencies across your partners by leveraging tools and capabilities.

I started this discussion with the premise that you can agree to the requirements, frequency and standards across your partners, in other words, the requirements.   You should also notice that this follows my premise that you should always focus on the requirements and delivering the requirements first.  It is then up to the partners to develop the most efficient means to deliver these requirements.  There is one critical point, or more appropriately, critical opportunity that should be taken into account in this initiative to integrate and deliver the data and that is a shared design and selection of the tools utilized to deliver the requirements.  This relatively simple process can dramatically increase the the speed of delivery and the quality of tool selection and the differentiating factor in this is the utilization of tool capabilities.

This collaborative design and selection of tools is one of the critical values to your collaborative partnerships.  In addition, this is also one of the key factors to developing and strengthening the collaborative relationships.  This function provides dramatic mutual benefits to all of the partners.  My suggestion is that you should create a technology best practices committee that includes members from each of your collaboration partners.  This committee will provide a repository of best practices and tools suggestions and evaluations that are created by the partners and shared across the partnership.  This will help to improve the delivery time of both the evaluation of tools and the design of the processes to deliver on the requirements. 

I have previously discussed the types of mutual benefits can be achieved, and should be targeted, from the collaborative partnerships.  This technology best practices committee can be one of the linchpins to delivering strong benefits and strengthening the relationships across partners.  I believe very strongly that this type of committee is one of key ingredients to the long term success of your partnerships and will only increase in value as your partnerships grow.  Another benefit to implementation of this type of committee is that it can be a proving ground for the benefits and act as an incubator process to grow the collaborative sharing through committees.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have you discussed efficiencies with your collaborative partners?  What kind of tricks do you practice when you are multi-tasking?  How does technology impact your ability to mutli-task?  How does the blurring of the professional and personal aspects impact your life?