With digital transformation becoming more and more prominent in the business world, it only makes sense to keep up with the trends. One of these trends is creating cross-functional teams to help the process along smoothly. These teams are becoming a must. After all, they are the best option for effective collaboration.
Speaking of collaboration, one often-overlooked relationship in these teams is the one between IT and Communications. They seem so different, right? Wrong. In fact, their goals often do (and should) align.
In this article, we’ll explore why this collaboration is one of the most important things for digital transformation. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to improve it!
Why it’s important for IT and Communications to collaborate
So, how exactly do the goals of each of these departments overlap? In the past, they hardly did. IT was responsible for the technological aspect of the intranet. The Communications department was responsible for using these IT tools to increase exposure and engagement.
However, these days, as digital transformation grows, so does the need for these two departments to work together towards shared goals. Unknowingly a lot of departments already have shared goals. For example, most IT leaders are shifting their strategy on increasing business value and improving the digital employee experience. While Communication managers focus on strengthening the culture of collaboration to increase employee engagement.
At many organisations IT is already implementing a digital workspace or application portal to simplify work for employees, like Microsoft 365, while the Communication department is busy implementing an intranet to reach their goals. Though in many cases the digital workspace and intranet are able to solve similar issues.
It is clear, that these departments seek to do the same thing: keep people in their organisation happy and productive. Without a good collaboration between the two, there can be a lack of consistency and coordination, a duplication of tasks and even worse they might both spend tons of money and time to implement yet another platform for people to check. And that is why these two departments should collaborate.
4 Tips on how to improve collaboration between IT and Communications
From the above, it is clear that the relationship between your IT and Communications departments can drastically affect the digital employee experience. So, here are 4 ways to improve this internal collaboration:
1. Create a cross-functional team and schedule meetings
Cross-functional teams are the key to success in digital transformation. With a team that encompasses all different kinds of experience, skills, and expertise, you are able to better achieve your goals.
Cross-functional team members all have something to add. Teamwork (when it is healthy and collaborative) can be one of the most important driving factors when it comes to the success of a business or project. This idea is no different when it comes to collaboration between IT and Communications.
It is therefore extremely important to foster an environment where these two departments can exchange ideas and work together towards their goals. After all, these goals (as we have seen) are pretty similar.
To Do: Select your team members and create a virtual team to discover mutual goals
Create a healthy meeting rhythm. First do a kick-off (see step 2), after that schedule recurring meetings and use a project management tool that is open to all team members to keep track of tasks.
2. Set clear goals from the get-go
So, we’ve already covered the fact that cross-functional teams all work together towards one ultimate goal. Of course, within these teams, there will be representatives from different departments. This includes IT and Communications who will need to work together toward common goals.
But how do you ensure that these goals are set clearly from the start? While the objective is the same (to keep people using the digital workspace and intranet productive and facilitate effective internal communication), there are different ways to achieve this. So, there is no doubt there will be conflicting ideas.
The best way to keep goals aligned is to clearly lay out the goals of different departments or team members. Everyone should know what they are working towards and how it contributes to the bigger picture.
To Do: Let each department present their strategic goals for the coming year
Representatives from each department can present the goals of their department. In this exercise it is important to discuss if the higher goals can be achieved using the same tools.
3. Keep everyone in the loop
An IT department and a Communications department without collaboration can lead to chaos. Work may end up being duplicated, which wastes time. That is why you want to make sure that you have an open communication system that allows everyone to stay in the loop and up to date when it comes to the setting of goals, project progress, and other specific team objectives.
To Do: Create a chat channel or social feed for the project
The easiest way to keep people in the loop is to create a chat channel in Teams or social feed using a tool like Yammer. Here everyone in the project team is able to share the progress, see the tasks and get feedback.
4. Create personas for your digital workspace
This last tip may well be the most helpful of them all. This is because it can help you to achieve everything we’ve spoken about so far.
With well-designed employee personas for your digital workspace, you can ensure that efficiency and productivity are at an all-time high. Digital workspaces are becoming more and more popular for digital businesses. They enable teams to collaborate seamlessly on an easy-to-use interface so that they can stay up to date on their work and keep in touch with their colleagues.
Using personas you can keep the focus on the employee experience. It allows everyone in your team to ask and answer questions like ‘How would caretaker Carry use the intranet?’. This allows your teams to contribute towards the goal at hand.
To Do: Create personas for your digital workspace
As described above, create your own personas for your digital workspace. Feel free to use these persona templates to help you get started.
Collaboration between your IT and Communication teams is essential for keeping your digital business running smoothly. By working together, these departments can ensure that your intranet and digital workspace offers the best employee experience possible. Ultimately, this will mean improved productivity and collaboration within your workforce.
If you’re just getting started with your digital transformation journey, you’re probably trying to find the perfect solution. Be sure to check out Workspace 365’s free demo. It will show you exactly how you can create an adaptable digital workspace to suit your business needs.