Over 95% of employees and executives believe that the level of collaboration directly affects the outcome of tasks or projects. This means that in the modern world it is important companies lean into collaborative solutions instead of siloed ways of working.
Leading the way by helping companies collaborate since 2016 is Collabtech Group. We conversed with Collabtech’s CEO and Founder Shawn Leonard recently to understand how companies who are looking to transform in a rapidly moving world can help forge better relationships through collaboration.
Brief us about the journey of the company from its inception till date.
Collabtech began its work in 2016. Initially, we started with creating content for the original Microsoft Surface Hub. Every year since then has been a milestone. In 2017 we diversified our offering by developing and deploying a Teams guide for partners for Microsoft whilst globally installing Surface Hubs including in the White House. The following year our focus broadened to global expansion. We worked on rapid growth internationally as we established our offices in Europe and APAC. We provided services in over 106 countries in 7 languages and recently completed our 10,000th collaboration event. At present we have several exciting innovation partner projects in the pipeline that will become reality next year.
Please help us understand the current market landscape.
We work as a bridge between video technology and modern workplace digital transformations on behalf of collaboration companies. It involves us at the intersection of a range of software companies, OEM’s, distribution companies, end-users, integration services. It is a relatively new but quickly evolving segment of the market.
Tell us about the products and services offered by your company.
We provide collaboration as a service and these requirements for clients vary.
Some businesses need their offerings to be presented in an educational format and our subject matter experts can provide world-class content for the most advanced technologies.
We help our clients adopt the right latest technology including deployment devices into their specific environments such as Microsoft Teams Room (MTR’s) and Surface Hubs.
We also work with clients around PoC (Proof of Concepts) where we supply device and expertise to deploy all the technical, logistic and project management elements of their technology device program globally.
Our latest offering is a virtual maintenance service offering where clients can engage us 24/7 when their collaboration equipment isn’t performing as they would expect it.
As one of the leaders in the space, what are the challenges you face today?
A challenge we face as a leader in the space is ensuring organizations and people we deal with understand the range of services we offer. As the market and our offering quickly evolves, keeping the ongoing communication with all our stakeholders is important. For example, Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s fastest-growing software and we wrote the official deployment and user adoption guides for partners but often people only know us from our original deep involvement in enterprise devices. We need to get better at sharing our message.
Outside of our organization one of the challenges we often see in traditional organizations is their approach in handling the cultural attitude of collaborative leadership. Traditionally such organizations have usually rewarded the successful managers with additional resources and people. We have found that this approach creates issues for effective organizational collaborations.
Collaborations often require being able to successfully manage relationships outside of your direct control. As a result, without collaborative leadership skills, traditional organizations can have trouble releasing control. It is therefore important to recognize and respect all cultures by placing trust in each other. This requires releasing traditional control.
What are the differentiating factors that set your company apart?
We have believe we have created our own category of business and often refer to our three pillars:
We often refer to playing nicely with everyone in the sandpit as our belief is that the market is big enough for everyone to grow. Businesses have competing goals and ambitions, but our role is to enable this vision rather than competing against it.
Who are some of your biggest clients? In which vertical do you see the most traction?
We have the privilege of working on behalf of the world’s biggest and best technology clients such as Microsoft and Lenovo who bring innovation through intelligent workplaces to life. We love bringing people together from organizations around the globe in ways it’s never been done before.
To help promote the best ways of collaboration, we have shot several original professional mini-movies for technology organizations to educate their partners. And we don’t see this part of the content development business slowing down.
How do collaboration services help people and organizations work better together?
Collabtech provides collaboration services globally in 7 different languages, delivering services for global technology organizations in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.
An outstanding evidence-based example was recently outlined in a Stanford study that ran for over two years. The study found that the productivity gains from enabling remote work gave organizations a genuine competitive advantage, largely facilitated by the adoption of effective collaboration technology use.
In the study, Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom worked with Ctrip -- China’s largest travel agency -- to trial a work-from-home solution for 500 of its 20,000 workforce. The results were impressive. Over the two years, Ctrip increased profits by $2,000 per employee by enabling working from home simply by reducing its need for an office space. The unintended consequence of the project was the productivity gains and tangible motivation of these remote workers.
The research demonstrated a 13% improvement in performance by those employees working from home -- the equivalent of over half a day’s productivity per week per employee. Not only did productivity improve but employee turnover dramatically reduced by resignations (falling by over 50%).
Ctrip was able to keep valuable talent inside the organization, but it also minimized productivity drops at the manager level with less time required in recruiting and training new employees. The trial was so successful on multiple fronts; Ctrip deployed the remote working model using the latest collaboration technology to the whole organization.
Can you recall an instance where your service helped one of your clients?
To enable children’s digital future is an important concern of parents around the world. There is no one way to successfully build a sustainable community approach to learning but an educator in the US wanted to empower their school by trialing new approach to digital education.
The process started with preparing all parts of their education system with an update of equipment, administrators and educators with the help of Collabtech.
Before deciding and providing the equipment for proper use, the curriculum needed to be considered. Understanding the different use cases, expectations and learning challenges of 800 students were considered before trialing solutions.
The trial incorporated Intune as the software management system along with Surface devices for students which meant logging into their courses directly by opening their devices in a single touch.
This time-saving approach helped educators as less time was spent fixing basic digital issues and more time could be spent educating students how to collaborate on problem solving whilst incorporating the latest digital skills such as Sway as part of digital storytelling class.
The teachers demonstrated high engagement as they were involved during the designing which of course resulted in increasing the relevant value of the teacher’s skills in the classroom and professionally. Students’ performance improved and parents could see how their children were gaining from technological learning.
The trial became a standard which was adopted throughout the region.
Creating an educational experience that is valued by all stakeholders is rewarding and as a group we love seeing the lasting impact.
Meet the luminary
Shawn Leonard, CEO and Founder
Shawn Leonard identified the need in the market for a vendor-neutral provider of collaboration services. He felt that companies could work better if they worked together. To make an impact, he founded Collabtech Group in 2016. Today, the company provides service to businesses in over 106 different countries. Its clients include the likes of NFL, Warner Brothers, and the FBI.
“We help pull together all the technical, logistic and project management elements of a technology device program globally.”
“Having people physically together can increase the speed of technology adoption on projects. Collabtech can tailor specific events over a day including a range of common scenarios.”