The final destination isn’t Integration, its Collaboration!!

I read articles every week about smarter ways of collecting information, how a company achieved success through attaining control of the Social Media flow of information, how new information has shaped the product development process in FMCG companies, and so on. Focus is mainly around integration of systems and oodles and oodles of data.

At the heart of it, the integration in itself was not the key to success, it was the interaction it caused between the people on different ends of the integration that caused the change. The collaboration!

After reading David’s blog on “Who Cares About Big Data, Where Are The Big Questions?” I realized that this clear cut wisdom often gets put aside in the heat of the moment when you are fighting the challenges of getting the budget you need to get the information you need, fighting the technical challenges, fighting the analysis challenge and finally fighting your entire organization in order to land the change. The big question is really “How do we achieve better collaboration?” Better collaboration with our customers (call it social networking or whatever), better collaboration in planning (sales and operation planning or integrated business planning) and better collaboration between co-workers and top management.

The problem is that there is a fear of collaboration. People in companies don’t want to share information and discuss this with others. First of all you risk getting criticized; second of all there are plenty of functions that don’t create value and people in these positions don’t want the fraud to be revealed. It also puts a lot of demand on the organization to have a dialogue that is on the right level and a common goal to achieve something greater than whatever is the scope of the individuals work. This is Managements task to put into place. This I have written about in earlier blogs.

It leads me to think about the success stories I read about Apple and Google, they achieved collaboration through an open culture with little hierarchy and very strong culture. Everyone in these companies know what they are trying to achieve as a whole, at all times, they know what they are working on and who is involved and their own role. Sharing is crucial for the projects and collaborating around each other’s parts of the project is natural.

Read Stefan’s blog “Sales Tactics for Dummies – Part Two” to find out more about Collaborative Decision Making (CDM). This is the goal, the other stuff is help along the way. But don’t get stuck on the way… lift your vision to achieve something beyond the traditional structure and heirarkies!

I will be back with more on this topic…