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Collaboration moves over for cooperation

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
February 5, 2014

Collaboration has been the buzzword surrounding enterprise communications and process improvement for some time now. With more firms embracing social initiatives and the opportunities provided by social BPM solutions, this key phrase seems to be beginning to be replaced by another - cooperation.

According to CMSWire, collaboration is based on an outdated structure of control - one that many businesses have already begun moving away from. This is making collaboration a less exciting and versatile strategy than it once was, and is causing companies to hold themselves back from real progress. Socialized workflows revolve around new practices and methods of working that are more focused on the cooperation of multiple parties, rather than collaboration, and the methods employed by firms should reflect that.

The key difference, the news source notes, is in the variation between sharing and control. Collaboration tools are focused on the latter - who controls the process, the data and the channel - while cooperation tools bring more sharing into the mix. Promoting the sharing of ideas, information and processes helps drive productivity and innovation while allowing business process management to keep up with the new ways enterprises are being run.

This is a primary alteration to workflows - business hierarchy. More companies are moving toward "hyper lean organization," according to the news source, reducing management overhead and changing the architecture of operations. By adopting cooperation as the keyword for today's processes, rather than collaboration, firms can drive the connectivity of their workforce, the tools they use and their customer base in order to promote synergy in the workplace and more innovative and unique results to those processes.

Ultimately, driving cooperation will have a profound effect on business acumen. Professionals' initial reactions to tasks and challenges will be more beneficial to the business as a whole, while their efforts will focus on team work rather than bringing a team up to date after the work has been performed. By supporting these efforts with the right BPM software as a foundation, enterprises will be able to streamline their own advances and help reshape their operations faster and more efficiently than ever before. The end result will be a more cohesive, effective body of work that can perform as a single force, rather than moving parts of a whole.

Malcolm Ross

Vice President of Product Marketing