Organizations get used to working a certain way, using specific applications or systems. And oftentimes, changing and adapting internal workflows can be overlooked because every workflow is so normal and accepted. And to be blunt…

…It is slowly killing your company’s efficiency.

As discussed in the first part of this blog series, Innovation is Meaningless (And Why Companies Don’t Do It), within the context of innovation, optimizing internal processes carries low risk, and yields the highest ROI.

One of the most effective ways to improve internal efficiency is through collaboration. The main workforce demand is cloud-based, real-time communication, accessible from anywhere.

Common collaboration use cases include employees who travel, are based internationally, work from home, use a shared work kiosk, or simply need to communicate in real-time with coworkers.

According to Gartner, internal collaboration tools and software are essential to staying relevant and efficient in an ever-changing, technology-driven workforce. Gartner believes that “one way to spur novel forms of collaboration is to select an activity currently handled through traditional methods, such face-to-face meetings or email, and encourage it to take place in a virtual, likely Web-based, collaboration space instead.”

In a culture that thrives on immediacy through social media, news, and microwaveable dinners, organizations need to accept evolution and change with its employees.

“It’s important to remember that collaboration is perpetual,” Jacob Morgan says in an article from Forbes. “It’s a never ending evolution as new tools and strategies for the workplace continue to emerge. This means that it’s important for your organization to be able to adapt and evolve as things change. Keep a pulse on what’s going on in the industry and inside of your organization. This will allow you to innovate and anticipate.”

As the first blog mentioned, companies that put 70% of their innovation assets (time and money) to “safe” core initiatives (optimizing internal workflows) outperformed their peer companies who put a bigger emphasis on new products and drastic changes.

Gartner also touted real-time communication because it promotes an open flow of information. This can address the common problem of information being constrained and delayed through formal communication channels that run up and down the organizational hierarchy, or through defined email and need-to-know distribution lists. Real-time communication can break entrenched behaviors of relying on the management hierarchy to distribute information appropriately, and help overcome some of the communication-related problems associated with organizational holdups.

It can damage your company to overlook collaboration tools. Incorporating them is a first step to creating a more efficient work environment and optimizing your organization.