Collaborative Workflow: The New Kid on Campus: Moving beyond Collaborative Software to Implement Tools That Enhance Process and Increase Productivity

By Hauer, Igal | University Business, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Collaborative Workflow: The New Kid on Campus: Moving beyond Collaborative Software to Implement Tools That Enhance Process and Increase Productivity


Hauer, Igal, University Business


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Students, staff, faculty, and alumni are frequently in need of support for special projects, curriculum collaboration, and technology. Helpdesk solutions for IT administrators have been widely adopted among larger institutions to streamline IT support. But, with tight budgets, there's a need for a streamlined, collaborative workflow that allows staff, support specialists, department heads, administrators, and professors alike to be more productive, in a shorter period of time and with less staff. New technology that combines the features of workflow collaboration and social software should touch all facets within an institution to get the job done.

Collaborative workflow is expected to provide synergetic efficiency gains to all members of a group. The removal of communication barriers between team members, whether they're in the same department, in several departments, or across multiple campuses, would allow more efficient work on joint assignments. Barriers such as information silos and organizational boundaries would be minimized.

Ideally, collaborative workflow is to service management what "Cirque du Soleil" is to movement: a collection of parallel, sequential tasks that communicate and coordinate with seamless precision to achieve a desired outcome. The main difference between pure-play collaboration software and collaborative workflow is that the latter is both goal-oriented and structured. Collaboration is then carried out in a project framework with specific objectives in mind.

IT Insurrection

Prior to the 1980s, IT functions were performed at the data center--often a faceless, monolithic division housing fields of mainframes, humming softly in locked rooms. The insulated, air-conditioned splendor of the computer room was an unfortunate metaphor for the data center, all too often an unresponsive ivory tower of corporate information gatekeepers.

The introduction of the IBM PC in the early 1980s was the "French Revolution" of computing--ushering in a power shift from the data center to the knowledge workers. This change ultimately led to the democratization of computing, but in the short run led to a period of utter chaos.

The new model lacked standards, was fraught with trial and error, and required an ever-increasing level of support. It came not only from the "computer department," but soon included fellow team members helping each other. Peer support and "user" groups began to form, and although not explicitly shown in financial statements, led to an alarming drop in worker productivity.

By the early 1990s, studies published by well-respected consulting groups stated that organizations were spending a shocking amount of money on peer and informal technical support about three times the amount spent on hardware (and that's when a typical IBM PC cost approximately $5,000!). Many managers felt the PC revolution had gotten out of control.

Against this backdrop (and especially when campuses started implementing local area networks), the modern helpdesk was born. The data center had lost its monopoly, but the resulting power vacuum needed to be filled. For many, a resolution was found in standardizing and automating processes. Universities, faced with budget constraints, formed their own user organizations and folded technology into their own professional development programs.

The early helpdesks incorporated fairly simple workflows: problems were reported, dispatched, routed to a tech, resolved, and closed. As decentralized computing matured, customized workflow solutions such as change management, configuration management, and problem management enabled IT to focus on the bottom line--resolving problems and rolling out new applications faster, more reliably, and with greater ease. Workflow applications brought to the modern enterprise what Henry Ford's assembly line did for manufacturing: efficiency, uniformity of outcomes, and increased throughput.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Collaborative Workflow: The New Kid on Campus: Moving beyond Collaborative Software to Implement Tools That Enhance Process and Increase Productivity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.