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Cross-Border Collaboration and European Union Expansion - The Challenges Ahead

Last week, with a nod to the two year anniversary of the expansion of the European Union by 10 nations, we began to look at the challenges of getting knowledge workers to collaborate on a global scale.  This week, we continue the discussion and look at some of the challenges.

The concept of a global information economy is frequently discussed, but the need for a highly educated workforce is an unavoidable consequence of such a dream.

For many companies, the trend has been to "think global" and ten additional countries now joined with the EU creates an opportunity for many companies to build new markets and create jobs in the new member countries.

May 1 brought two questions to the forefront:
   1.) How will these new knowledge workers collaborate with their colleagues?
   2.) How will the companies collaborate with their customers and suppliers?

The answer is far from clear.


One way to bring knowledge workers together is through a Collaborative Business Environment (CBE).  

Collaborative Business Environments offer organizations a single work environment for the knowledge worker that supersedes the traditional desktop metaphor.

  • Using a common interface, CBEs provide access to all necessary applications from one (easy-to-use) place.
  • CBEs bring people together—both synchronously and asynchronously—allowing the enterprise to run on "twenty-first century time".  
  • CBEs increase productivity by providing access to, and delivering, information and knowledge when and where it is needed.
  • Key business indicators are always available —dashboard style— which ensures that managers will not miss critical information.
  • CBEs enable knowledge workers to locate information, knowledge, and human resources (experts) immediately.
  • CBEs reduce reaction time, while ensuring that fewer opportunities are missed, and more are exploited.   

Collaborative Business Environments can provide the infrastructure for cross-border enterprise-wide communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.  Deploying a Collaborative Business Environment will
   1.) Improve collaboration.
   2.) Help facilitate enterprise-wide productivity gains.
   3.) Streamline the flow of information.

An excellent example of how the Collaborative Business Environment model works in practice is a team of consultants, one in San Francisco, one in Tokyo and several at a client site in Budapest.  During the course of the engagement, despite the difference in local time, they use a Collaborative Business Environment to prepare documents relating to the engagement, working in a coordinated but asynchronous manner.  They can also meet in real-time in the CBE from time to time, and all participants in the meeting have access to the same resources. The CBE allows the consultants to focus on their client while tapping expertise from consultants on other continents.

Next week, we'll continue with a look at what managers in the knowledge economy need to know.

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