In a recent blog post, we explored ideas about the future of work—specifically, we looked at how implementing interconnected, intuitive systems like Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 can help organizations achieve the digital maturity that’s required for long-term success.

As we noted, implementation and use of the technology are early steps in a long journey. In this post, we examine one way companies can come closer to achieving the real gain—the maturity—by ensuring their employees know how to use the technology to collaborate across the organization.


Collaboration is critical to innovation and digital success, and will likely become even more important in the future. In a survey conducted earlier this year by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte Digital, researchers found that more than 70 percent of digitally maturing businesses are using cross-functional teams to implement digital business priorities. This compares to less than 30 percent for early-stage organizations1.

New ideas are created when people with diverse backgrounds work together—whether physically or virtually. Collaboration enables employees to see the bigger picture, and to consider the entire experience of both external and internal customers.

Collaboration also helps organizations retain their digital talent—which is especially important considering the growing global digital skills shortage. The MIT Sloan/Deloitte report notes that many companies are encouraging employees to participate in platforms and communities where they can share ideas with and learn new skills from experts in other departments and in other organizations.

“Organizations that don’t develop their talent are likely to see employees and executives jump ship to competitors that do,” the report states.

In its 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) also points out the importance of creating a work environment conducive to learning and collaboration. Instead of encouraging people to work independently or only with colleagues in their department, the report’s authors suggest enabling a cross section of employees to work in close physical or virtual proximity to one other. This approach helps develop a common working language that encourages true collaboration and increased efficiency.

Consider this example from the MIT Sloan/Deloitte report—when the senior vice president of digital at Marriott tried competitors’ apps, he found that while they worked well technically, they didn’t deliver on their promises—he wasn’t checked in when he arrived and never received the dinner he ordered.

He realized that, no matter how well designed your app, no matter how effective your marketing, if you cannot live up to your promises with an exceptional stay, people will not come back.

Taking this example into account, the need for effective collaboration is clear, as is the importance of getting it right.

1. G. C. Kane, D. Palmer, A. N. Phillips, D. Kiron, and N. Buckley, “Achieving Digital Maturity” MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte University Press, July 2017.

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