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Lack of leadership stifles collaboration initiatives

IT and business leaders say they want to encourage collaborative working, but there is little support from senior management

If the 1990s led to a desktop revolution in office productivity tools, Dropbox hopes that this decade will see a focus on collaboration tools. 

According to the Dropbox state of collaboration report, based on research from Vanson Bourne, almost every business and IT leader who took part in the study admitted that their organisations have challenges in improving collaboration.

Almost two-fifths (38%) said increasing employee productivity is a main priority for their business over the next 12 months. Eight out of 10 (80%) believe the overall success of their organisation depends on them reinventing the way that teams collaborate. But in order to do this, the majority (84%) said they need the ability to meet the various collaborative working needs of different teams.

The survey of 2,500 business and IT decision-makers reported that 93% are still encountering barriers when it comes to improving collaborative working.

Simplifying the way in which employees and teams work is a key priority for 28% of respondents’ departments over the next 12 months. However, more than one-fifth (22%) said the executive leadership team in their organisation do not see collaborative working as a key business driver, and fourth-fifths believe the c-suite should put more emphasis on the importance of good collaborative working.

Organisational leaders, who generally have total visibility over areas such as productivity, employee morale, customer service and innovation, should be in the best position to see the benefits of collaborative working, according to Dropbox.

While many of the business and IT leaders who took part in the study recognise that various departments need to increase the significance placed on collaborative working, just 13% said no single department is responsible for creating a more collaborative working culture. The study found that 40% of respondents are happy if responsibility for collaborative working sits with the IT department.

But according to Dropbox, this attitude contradicts the definition of collaboration. “Technology will undoubtedly play a huge role in a successful transition to implementing a more collaborative culture, but putting this on the shoulders of one, or even two departments, is not going to provide the results that organisations need to see,” it said.

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Overall, the Dropbox study found that decision-makers in the modern workplace spend too much time on administrative tasks, which is preventing them from focusing on creative activities and being productive.

Adrienne Gormley, head of Dropbox, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “There are so many upsides to implementing a collaborative working culture, and the organisations that recognise this and take timely action to encourage it will find themselves ahead of those that fail to recognise its importance.

“But as much as the prospect of a streamlined, focused future is appealing, it is clear that businesses first need to stop, hit restart, and work with solutions that reduce the noise, not add to it.”

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