There’s a popular view that innovation is something of a mystical process; the preserve of rare geniuses receiving a flash of inspiration as they work alone. This view of innovation, however romantic, is generally incorrect. Even somewhat eccentric inventors such as Alan Turing and Thomas Edison worked in close collaboration with wider teams, without which their work would not have been possible (indeed, Edison is widely recognised as the originator of research and development teams within businesses). Even Isaac Newton, who spent most of his time working alone, admitted: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.

[easy-tweet tweet=”By bringing down workplace barriers, organisations can enable #collaboration and drive #innovation”]

In our digital age this fact holds true: innovation is the result of a collective effort; of enterprise-wide collaboration based on a full understanding of goals and context. The more easily a business can collaborate, the more likely it is to come up with truly innovative (and lucrative) customer services. Digital enterprises depend on effective collaboration and engagement among employees, partners, and customers in order to remain competitive and deliver cutting edge products and services.

The key question facing businesses is how they can enhance collaboration. What is it exactly that enables free and effective collaboration?

For me, the answer is simple: collaboration is what happens when organisational barriers are removed. When people are able work freely with the people they need to work with, drawing on the resources and content they need at any given time, then they are able to collaborate. Such an environment is a world away from the simple ‘file sync and share’ platforms that currently dominate the enterprise space.

One good way of breaking down these barriers is to embrace the agility of cloud platforms. These services seamlessly blend content, people, processes, as well as communications, as part of a cohesive workflow. This is about much more than simply being able to share documents with teams; it’s about delivering content that is contextually relevant to the task at hand. Cloud platforms can deliver just that by focusing on two areas: content and process.

When it comes to content, modern cloud platforms allow businesses to free their enterprise content by allowing employees to access the information they need anywhere, anytime and on any device. Crucially, the cloud also enables freer and more intuitive working practices. No longer do documents need to be emailed in attachments, downloaded and uploaded and version controlled. Teams can manage version history and access control within the cloud. Moreover, cloud platforms can change the way businesses collaborate by enabling social conversations – teams can talk as a group in a dynamic environment, regardless of where in the world they are based. In short, cloud platforms enable better decision making through enhanced information exchange, social collaboration, and mobility.

Traditionally however, other barriers to collaboration have remained behind the scenes in business process management. Businesses today need to quickly deploy and adapt processes to meet their operational demands. However, the cost and complexity of implementing infrastructure to support new tools has in the past been prohibitive. The cloud solves this by offering visibility and management of business processes, delivering a full lifecycle process management environment that allows businesses to easily extend existing Software-as-a-Service and on-premise applications across the enterprise. By being able to tailor their applications in the cloud and extend them to wherever they are needed, businesses can ensure they are getting the most of their content while providing an environment in which collaboration can flourish.

[easy-tweet tweet=”One good way of breaking down workplace barriers is to embrace the agility of #cloud platforms” hashtags=”Collaboration”]

Any business serious about innovation needs to ensure that collaboration can take place easily within their organisations. By enabling agile content and process management through the use of tools like Oracle’s Content and Process solution, cloud platforms can help them do just that.

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Neil Sholay, Head of Digital, Oracle As head of Oracle Digital, Neil Sholay is responsible for Oracle’s go to market strategy and thought leadership for Oracle in the Digital marketplace. With responsibility for strategic growth areas of Social, Mobility, Cloud (Private & Public), Big Data, Internet of Things and Customer Experience. With more than 15 years of IT experience, Mr. Sholay is a frequent speaker on the subjects of Future IT, Social, Cloud, Customer Experience, Mobility and IT Transformation. Mr. Sholay’s primary focus is market and business development which includes identifying new technology trends and developments and working closely with field sales & marketing to support Oracle’s strategic customers. Mr. Sholay has experience of working on large scale IT infrastructure and transformation projects across all industries and regions. Prior to his appointment at Oracle, Mr. Sholay spent eight years with BEA Systems as Director of Telecom Markets, EMEA. In this role he acted as telecom domain expert for the company and was responsible for developing BEAs telecom strategy and bringing to market BEAs telecom product line; WebLogic Communications Platform. Mr. Sholay also spent two years with ATG as Wireless Industry manager and two years with the e-business systems integrator Infogain as a consultant and later as practice manager for their advanced technologies group. Mr. Sholay started his career as a graduate with Sun Microsystems working for four years, initially as an engineer and then as part of the newly formed Java market development team which was the team that originally evangelized and brought the Java platform to market. Mr. Sholay holds a BA degree in Business Management from the London Institute.