Collaboration-as-a-Service: Breaking Down What You Need to Know

Since Alexander Graham Bell ushered in the telephone in 1876, the ability to communicate across distances has become immediate. Passing notes in class is so passé. Why wait for a break to exchange messages? Do it now over a smartphone!

Today we demand this instant communication — both in our personal and professional lives. The power to find, explore and share information is immediate, timely and relevant. And it’s this real-time access that’s especially critical for governments, whose workforce is often remote, siloed and stymied by traditional collaboration methods.

New collaboration technologies let governments connect and cooperate with a click of the mouse or a swipe of the finger. These technologies are more of a service than a tool; they are a true solution for achieving agency mission goals.

At the most basic level, collaboration tools are the instruments by which you and others achieve a given task or objective together. In other words, if you use something to reach out to someone or explain, demonstrate or spread a message, you’re using a collaboration tool. For example, the pen in your hand, the video messaging app on your phone and the internal wiki doc you probably use are all collaboration tools.

However, figuring out how people like to collaborate best can be difficult. Do they prefer phone, email, text, online platforms, or a video conference? The possibilities seem endless. It’s enough to make you want to pull out your pad and start penning a letter. But understanding how agencies and employees like to collaborate is imperative to achieving mission goals. This is especially true given that the Office of Personnel Management’s annual Federal Viewpoint Survey found that engagement and collaboration were down across government for the fifth year in a row in 2015. The tools are there for government to achieve success, but barriers to using those tools persist.

Let’s overcome them together. In this GovLoop Pocket Guide, we’ll give you an overview of how the government currently collaborates and best practices for improving collaboration, which include the importance of remaining secure and leveraging FedRamp. Additionally, we’ll examine case studies and how-tos that will help you get where you need to be today.