Behind The Buzzword: Collaboration

Use Cases Of Collaboration Vs. The Redundancy Of It

Steven Lerner

Digital Transformation professionals are often inundated with a barrage of new business buzzwords. Does a particular buzzword refer to meaningful technology, or is it just another example of meaningless terminology? Each week, Enterprise Mobility Exchange publishes Behind The Buzzword, a quick overview of new technology jargon and how professionals view it.

Similar to synergy, collaboration is another example of business jargon that has been used to emphasize the importance of teamwork in the modern workforce. It’s common in most enterprises to hear the word ‘collaboration’ being used on a daily basis. Despite the reputation of this likely buzzword, it is still a vital component to an organization’s success in digital transformation.

Before describing how ‘collaboration’ became an annoying buzzword, let’s first discuss the practical meaning of it. Merriam-Webster defines collaboration as working jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor. Throughout an organization, collaboration can be a meaningful way to improve productivity, increase satisfaction, and to break down workplace silos. When employees are empowered to share their ideas and opinions in a collaborative setting, businesses flourish.

See Related: Behind The Buzzword: Agile

The catalyst that is pushing collaboration in the enterprise is the age of digital transformation. Advancements with new technologies are revolutionizing workplace ecosystems and expanding the dynamics of enterprises. The demand by employees, especially younger generations, to work remotely has forced organizations to invest in collaboration tools, such as cloud computing, video conferencing and apps, in order to facilitate cooperation between distant workers. By putting an emphasis on collaborative technologies, enterprises are able to successfully engage remote workers while simultaneously lowering costs. In short, collaboration can be a powerful game-changer.

Although collaboration is a useful strategy in business, the term has been recognized as an overused buzzword for some time now. The word ‘collaboration’ has been used so often over the past few years that it seems very banal, and it is watered down from its original meaning. An overemphasis on collaboration can be tedious to a business process, especially for younger organizations that should be focused more on execution. It can also enhance more vulnerabilities of an organization that is not structured to handle large scale cooperation. More importantly, professionals sometimes confuse replace collaboration with teamwork, which can be risky. Without a project manager who can help team members accomplish a cooperative outcome, turmoil could occur.

“I think it’s already proven that collaboration is vital to business today,” said Aaron Kimbrough, senior manager II for Walmart. “It’s a buzzword that’s probably not needed any longer.”

In the end, collaboration can still be an important component of an enterprise during digital transformation. However, if left unchecked, collaboration can also be another redundant buzzword in business.

Are there any technology buzzwords or phrases that you are tired of hearing? Share them with Editor Steven Lerner by emailing