While specialist roles are still commonplace within the UK’s business world, a significant shift has been seen over the last few years as a growing number of firms blur the lines between different departments. Collaboration has been the watchword, with companies hoping to encourage marketers and IT departments or HR and finance departments to combine forces and share their mutual expertise.

As roles become more fluid, technology has played an important part in changing how disparate parts of an organisation can come together and ensure that it performs to the best of its ability. For instance, it can make it easier for different departments to communicate information between each other effectively, offering pragmatic support to collaborative schemes.

Furthermore, it can also help homeworkers and staff engaging in flexible working practices not become isolated from the central decision-making process, by ensuring they have access to the data they need to get involved in this and preventing them from becoming isolated.

Businesses that install CRM software will find it easier to share customer-focused information throughout their company. This is preferable to utilising decentralised databases, which offer several disadvantages, notably the risk of losing important statistics and the time spent moving the figures from one place to another.

Always better when we’re together

Collaboration has long been underlined as a crucial part of innovation and growth within the corporate world. This trend has perhaps become more pronounced as businesses become bigger and more global – it takes more of an effort for international firms to engage in this process, as fruitful as it can be.

Marketing consultant Brian Honigman recently wrote a blog for the Huffington Post extolling the virtues of inter-department working, describing it as a “driving force for continued efficiency among everyday tasks and a necessity for improving the outcomes of many business activities”.

According to Clinked, 75 per cent of companies expect online collaboration tools to be an important part of their business over the course of the year.

While CRM software doesn’t exactly fit this description, it is an important part of how organisations can share data between departments.

This prevents, for instance, a situation where only marketing experts are examining figures that could actually prove useful for people in all parts of the company – front-line sales workers or executives could also benefit from examining this data, and with a CRM process in place they will be able to do so.

“Collaboration in the digital age can help spur original thinking with connections happening across locations and departments that couldn’t’ have previously occurred. By nature, collaboration brings different voices, teams, specialties and opinions together to solve an existing problem,” concluded Mr Honigman.

CRM and innovation

Of course, there needs to be a recognition that technology alone cannot help firms provide innovative solutions to problems. Without the right staff in place, the centralised data offered by CRM software will not be turned into actionable insights.

However, having the information at the fingertips of the whole organisation will make it easier for exciting, collaborative projects to take place and, ultimately, increase the likelihood of finding solutions to organisational problems.

With companies across all industries aware of the importance of innovation, particularly as technology advances at pace, placing this power in the hands of workers can both improve morale and give companies a chance to move ahead of their rivals.

CRM and homeworkers

The advent of flexible working over the last decade has seen a growing number of firms allow staff to work different schedules, eschewing the typical 9-5 approach.

Manifold benefits emerge from this approach – for example, it can improve diversity by ensuring that mothers can combine their career with family life.

Disadvantages include the possibility that workers will not be able to examine the same data as their colleagues because they are not in the office. CRM processes can offset this by ensuring the information is spread across the staff, wherever they are carrying out their role from.