Are We Ready for a Quantum Leap in Collaborative Capabilities?


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Among the primary benefits of implementing CRM, SCM, Field Service and other back and front office automation applications has long been raising the level of internal collaboration–and more recently enabling collaboration with customers and suppliers. But we’ve had significant difficulty moving past impediments such as: overstuffed e-mail channels; unmonitored voice mail; inability to share multiple-party communication in a consolidated, multi-channel log; multiple step tasks disappearing from visibility into “black holes” until complete; unmonitored tasks not completed or taking far too long; etc.

Thankfully, relief is on the way. Interactive Intelligence Inc. (i3) will soon launch a new software application dedicated to supporting external and internal collaboration. Once companies redesign process to leverage the new capabilities and then implement the properly configured software, they can:

-Intelligently reroute customer calls to the best qualified people available if the primary recipient is not.

-“Hot transfer” triage calls to qualified and available staff.

-Provide an integrated communication log across all media to call/message recipients.

-Track both internal and external, multi-step processes to keep them moving–and escalate processes that get off track.

-Provide real time visibility into multi-step tasks (such as repair tickets).

-Track presence (whether someone’s at their desk and their status).

-Queue tasks and automatically route work assignments to available staff.

-Monitor, measure and report on communication and tasks.

Taking advantage of these new capabilities will give some companies difficult to overcome competitive advantages. And adopting them will provide all companies deploying correctly (first process, then technology) opportunities for major streamlining. This is powerful stuff–potentially. But how it’s handled in the marketplace will determine whether what we’re calling “Enterprise Collaboration” will realize its potential. I still remember an excellent desktop operating system called “C/PM” losing out to a much inferior system–DOS.


  1. Hi Dick: a column I just read by Dov Seidman corroborates what you have written. “I believe that collaboration — our heightened ability to connect —can not only prevent bad decisions but become an engine of growth and innovation. Remember the old saying, ‘two heads are better than one’?”

    Seidman quotes management expert Tom Davenport “What are the mechanisms that translate being a jerk into being a poor decision-maker? Jerks tend to think their own perspectives are the only ones worth considering, but good decisions require serious consideration of alternatives. Jerks think they’re never wrong, but good decisions require acknowledging and learning from mistakes. Jerks are consumed with petty resentments and grievances, but good decisions require clear-headed, objective thinking. Jerks alienate other people, but good decisions require collaboration across a social network.”


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