What is collaboration in business?

by Mike Sharkey

What is collaboration in business?

One organization can’t do everything. It’s a fundamental reason why so many companies establish business collaborations of one kind or another. But making use of external expertise is just one reason to collaborate in business. Here are some of the others.

Why organizations collaborate

  • Scaling up. An organization may not have the staff, resources or infrastructure to fulfill a task or contract. Working together with another business can be a way of addressing this need
  • Injecting new ideas. Organizations can become more inward-looking over time. Bringing in an outside perspective gives people a fresh perspective on processes, problems, and solutions
  • Adding skills. Sometimes the necessary expertize for a project isn’t available in-house and it makes sense to collaborate with another business rather than recruit
  • Adding value. Companies may get together to provide joint packages or discounts on complementary products and services

Facilitating collaboration in business

Having effective collaboration channels is essential for successful joint projects. The tools you have available to use can even determine who it’s possible to work with. With Workplace by Facebook, for example, it’s easy to work with other companies using Multi-Company Groups (MCG).

They give you unrestricted collaboration with partners, customers, suppliers. And they help organizations build productive teams made up of both internal and external members. MCG’s are private spaces to discuss projects, share documents and work together and can be a useful way to begin facilitating collaboration.

As well as having the right tools, effective collaboration in business depends on:

  • Trust and shared values. There needs to be respect and understanding between the collaborating organizations
  • Clear aims. Teams need to understand the objectives of working together and keep these front of mind
  • Clear processes. Prospective partners should decide these at the outset. How will the flow of business communication work? What are the checkpoints for the projects? Will there be regular group communication? When will online/in-person meetings take place?
  • Established rules. The parameters of the collaboration should be clear, and the people involved in the work should know what information they can and can’t share

What organizations gain from business collaboration

There can be a lot of far-reaching benefits from collaborating with other organizations. More customers, for one. Working with others can help companies build a wider reach, gain new customers and extend influence into new areas.

Partnerships are also an opportunity for organizations to learn. They can provide fresh perspectives and insight into new ways of getting work done. The exposure to these innovations can be priceless when a collaboration goes well.

And, even if things don’t work out, the valuable lessons you learn will always help you do better next time.

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