Virtual teams is the norm for many companies, and increasingly these teams are working with a global perspective. There are many challenges with virtual teams, but the benefits can outweigh the negatives. And in many cases it is not truly possible only working locally, particularly when taking on complex projects across the world.
Managing the virtual document workforce is key
Incorporating clear, objective, and measurable criteria in the performance management process is vital to successful virtual work programs. And, it is crucial for a virtual document collaboration team to have the right technology for managing the task – both for contributors, managers and executives. By providing the correct document collaboration and co-authoring solution, you can make it easier to facilitate local challenges with global input. Imagine that you have a billion dollar bid and that your centre of excellence is in Oslo, Norway, your project in Lagos, Nigeria, your assembly line in Mobile, US and your key executive just having moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – challenging? Yes, but at least the document collaboration challenge can be overcome.
With more and more companies doing business in far-flung places and more and more employees telecommuting, virtual teams—those made up of people in different physical locations—are on the rise. Geographic separation can make it challenging for dispersed teammates to communicate and collaborate. But evidence suggests that if virtual work groups are well managed, they can outperform teams with common office space. (Source: https://hbr.org/web/comm/jama/sponsored-archive/jama)
Imagine producing a bid where 15-20 people are involved in the process, and in various offices globally. In a serial process reliant on Word, you may check out a portion of the document, work offline and upload again. This means that part of the content may not be available to other team members for maybe 24 hours. Let’s say you were writing about training, and someone else was to write about training as well. Would you get the same answer if you did not have access to the other section? Probably not. It would add to the review process in the end.
With a real-time database driven document solution, you would have access to your team’s contributions immediately, enabling your colleagues to see how you plan to solve the task and thereby adjust their language accordingly. Or provide feedback and guidance while you are working on the narrative, as opposed to later when you have may have moved onto another task and thereby disturbing two processes. And, this does not even consider the challenge with project managing the process. In a serial process reliant on Word, it is difficult to have the complete picture of what has been done and by whom, while in a database driven document solution this is all visible to the project manager from day one. The document is always the latest and greatest, no versioning issues, no formatting issues, built in workflow and reports to provide estimates of progress at any time.
Time zone differences may present logistical challenges, however from a document collaboration aspect this can be solved. Global collaboration can help your organization to learn from others globally, provides flexible knowledge workers, get new inputs and ideas and insight on how others have solved similar tasks.
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