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When Collaboration Strategies Need Assessment

Aberdeen Group and IBM Co-Develop Complementary Collaboration Assessment

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When Collaboration Strategies Need Assessment

Aberdeen Group conducted research to determine hidden benefits and best practices of collaboration.

Organizations without effective internal networks for collaboration, whether it's due to size, distance, culture, collaborative technologies, among other things, may limit individuals to network and share information. Why assess the value of your organization's collaborative abilities? The consequences of not fostering collaborative strategies may cause your organization to miss the most basic capabilities, including sales opportunities, customer service engagement, and team performance.

Aberdeen Group, an established market research firm, embarked on primary research of 450 organizations to identify collaboration performance differentiators based on current business metrics. To share these often hidden benefits and best practices within enterprises, Aberdeen Group partnered with IBM to create more industry specific scenarios and produced an educational scorecard to take online. Users can complete the online assessment and receive a complimentary analysis of their organization's collaborative abilities compared to quantitative benchmarks. The scorecard offers relevant recommendations based on your scores and desired goals.

Collaboration Assessment Approach

Utilizing a collaboration assessment tool is a practical approach to identify your organization's collaborative abilities and effectiveness. In academic environments, assessments provide benchmarks on teaching ability. In business, human resources management may conduct a talent assessment as a means to determine leadership abilities or training needs.

While an assessment may be subjective to interpretation within an organization, Russ Klein, Vice President of Research Strategy at Aberdeen Group, offered, "An assessment of this kind is based on a complex formula. Alone, this tool may not be enough to make a technology purchase, but the assessment provides a predictive value of taking certain actions within your organization."

Value of Collaboration Assessments

Collaboration is a key value proposition for acquiring technology tools today. Organizations may find assessing specific existing limitations may see benefits to using collaborative technologies as well as becoming more knowledgeable of the value of collaboration.

Organizations may use collaboration assessments to identify communication gaps among employees, partners, and customers. Supporting high value communication can have measurable impacts through knowledge management tools, unified communications, virtual meeting tools, and other platforms within a networked organization.

Following are several suggestions to help guide your personalized collaboration assessment. Assessment benchmarks will show how your organization is doing compared to other organizations within given industries and comparable size.

Suggestions to Complete the Collaboration Assessment

Evaluate multiple assessments. Have multiple leaders in your organization or committee take the assessment to ensure you're identifying the right challenges as well as desired actions you may already have in place-but may not be aware of. Susan Heathfield, Management and Organization Development Consultant and Guide to Human Resources on About.com suggested, "It is helpful that all leaders take the assessment and then compare answers. This allows each of the leaders to ponder the challenge separately, and bring their best thoughts to the table."

Utilize assessment of peers only. Be prepared to have leaders who are peers in your organization independently take the assessment. For assessment accuracy, Mr. Klein suggests comparing several responses from key stakeholders within your organization against the performance of its peers to find opportunities for improvement.

Take an honest assessment. The assessment is designed to be completed in 10 minutes. Leaders in organizations are familiar with road blocks or have access to information within your organization that can provide evidence to support specific challenges. Identify your specific challenges and possible actions for improvement to properly assess where you stand within the range of benchmarks, from best-in-class to laggard capabilities.

Know your strategic planning objectives. The assessment tool provides tracks, including Assessing Basic Building Blocks, Broader Business Value, and Gaining Strategic Value. Leaders armed with long-range objectives in their organization will be better equipped to identify the development stage of collaborative value. Based on your track selection, the recommendations will flow through analysis of your organizational capabilities and enablers. Users may also take each of the tracks to see where you stack up with industry peers.

To learn more about your organization's potential collaborative abilities to improve business performance, take this online collaboration assessment.

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