By Jen Sweeney
This post is fifth in an enterprise collaboration series, in which we explore how knowledge workers, IT departments and business leaders can boost productivity, increase efficiency and transform their organizations with the power of collective wisdom.
Last week, we continued our collaboration series with a look at how new and evolving technology is changing enterprise communication and collaboration, and highlighted the business benefits of synchronous communication technology. This week’s focus is on asynchronous tools and how they can contribute to smarter enterprise collaboration.
Asynchronous communication tools enable end-users to collaborate without time or place constraints—while synchronous communication has been defined as “real-time,” asynchronous is sometimes referred to as “near-time.” Examples of asynchronous collaboration include brainstorming in a Yammer group or using services like OneDrive for Business or Dropbox for document revisions.
With asynchronous communication, immediate response is not usually expected or required. More careful consideration can result in higher-quality work.
Tools with asynchronous capabilities include email, blogs, wikis, social networks, content management systems and cloud storage services, and can provide a multitude of benefits to organizations, including:
- Available any time, any place: For organizations with global offices or a large number of telecommuters, asynchronous tools can provide employees with the freedom to work according to their schedules.
- Provide better documentation of the collaboration process: Documented interactions are searchable and reusable.
- Suitable for one-to-one and one-to-many interactions.
- Provide users with more time for reflection: With asynchronous communication, immediate response is not usually expected or required. More careful consideration can result in higher-quality work.
- Minimize time zone and language barriers: Asynchronous communication tools allow employees in non-HQ time zones to contribute when they are at their best. For employees whose first language is something other than the corporate standard (often English), these tools provide them with the time to clearly understand and respond to communications.
Improving collaboration is one of the top priorities in business today, and also one of the top challenges. Success does not depend on which tools organizations choose to implement (most thought leaders advocate for a blend of synchronous and asynchronous anyway), but rather on how much effort companies put into designing comprehensive collaboration strategies.
ALSO IN THE SERIES: A syncing feeling: How synchronous communication technology benefits business | Come together, right now… over lunch?: What it really means to collaborate and why every company should care | Using what you’ve got: Knowledge-Centered Support systems capitalize on IT’s greatest asset | A swarming trend: Why IT’s shift from tiered support to a collaborative, customer-focused model is good for the end-user, and for IT