What is workstream collaboration?

Not so long ago, the ‘workplace’ consisted of colleagues you worked tightly with, usually from your own department. You saw them face-to-face, you spoke with them in-person most days, and phone calls were about as distributed as things got.

What is workstream collaboration?

But technology advancements have enabled face-to-face communication to be replaced. First through email, then increasing internet speeds, the rise of smart devices, and a plethora of new communication mediums including instant messenger, video calls and in-app notifications.

When you combine these advancements with globalization and the impact on work that is having—remote workers, distributed teams, geographically-expanding markets—the ‘workplace’ of today is a very different thing from what it was.

Communication is faster, systems are more powerful, teams are dispersed and cross-functional, and 9-5 has turned into 24/7.

For all the advantages this has brought to businesses—and they are many—new communication complexities have also been created.

How can workers collaborate effectively across different time zones? How can you know nothing is falling through the cracks? How do you ensure the most critical knowledge is seen by those who matter? How can meaningful work get done amongst a constant stream of notifications and digital distractions?

To solve these challenges, a new form of technology has emerged: workstream collaboration.

Workstream collaboration defined

According to Gartner, workstream collaboration is a market of products used to organize, coordinate and execute on projects or processes where a high level of teamwork is needed to deliver effective results. To accomplish these goals, a conversation-centric, collaborative environment is provided to enable high levels of individual and group performance.

With common capabilities such as group chat, workspaces, direct messaging, file sharing, search and discovery, external stakeholder interaction and plug-ins, workstream collaboration tools improve team coordination, performance, communications, and productivity.

At the center of all of this—and one of the key differences compared to other products—is that workstream collaboration vendors understand the importance of team conversations occurring in the context of the work itself. Collaboration is focussed around specific topics, projects or other work activities.

And it’s an extremely fast-growing category. It's predicted that the workstream collaboration market will be worth $15,208.66 million by 2027.

Why your firm needs a workstream collaboration tool

As companies expand, flexible working arrangements gain more steam, globalization continues, and teams become even more distributed, effective internal collaboration becomes more critical—yet elusive—than ever. And that need for effective collaboration extends across colleagues, teams, departments, and locations.

The rise of SaaS products has had a downside for businesses and their employees that only now is starting to be recognized—your staff need to constantly jump between apps to find what they need and they face constant distractions and notifications, all while they attempt to get their work done.

Items are slipping through the cracks, blocks of meaningful and deep work are becoming almost impossible to find, and a serious loss of staff productivity is being felt by many. Most crucial of all, something that everyone wants, from the business owner to the most junior staff member, has become something of a pipe dream: peace of mind.

A well-chosen workstream collaboration tool is your team’s answer to this. It can alleviate the siloed and fractured work experience by creating a central place for all employees, across multiple workstreams, to collaborate in the context of the work that needs to be done.

Research shows that executives should pursue the greater gains that can come by embedding collaboration into specific processes, using new technologies provided by this type of tool to enable collaborative behavior. And many are already doing so, with 73% of companies experimenting with collaboration tools to improve performance.

Ultimately, a workstream collaboration tool provides your team with a smarter, more efficient way to collaborate and perform work.

The way most teams are working is suited to a world that no longer exists. Workstream collaboration tools that are built for today’s environment are the remedy to this.

Workstream collaboration tools—also known as workflow management tools and project management tools—can be categorized in two buckets:

  1. Industry-specific (e.g. Karbon, Canopy, Jetpack Workflow)

  2. Industry-agnostic (e.g. Asana, Trello, Monday.com, ClickUp)

How Karbon is tackling workstream collaboration

At Karbon, we have realized that to thrive and survive, accounting firms need integrated workflow and team communication methods that give rise to effectiveness, productivity, transparency, and visibility.

Cultures need to be developed where trustworthiness and deep thinking are valued highly and an employee’s contribution is not measured in hours, but in output and value to the organization.

The digital chaos created by countless apps, notifications, and distractions, needs to be replaced by calmness and focus. Time needs to be thought of as the finite resource that it is, and fiercely protected for every member of your team so that they can successfully contribute to the overall organizational mission.

And everyone needs to gain back peace of mind.

That's why Karbon exists. It's an accounting practice management tool for accounting firms with advanced workflow collaboration capabilities. It combines your discussions, tasks and powerful workflows to keep everything your team needs to get work done in one place and in context. A system that puts the focus back on output over eyeballs.

At the center of it all is a deep integration with your email. Because for most businesses, email is the primary source of communication and the starting point of the majority of their output. Yet they do not have it integrated into their actual workflow.

Karbon’s solves this—providing a system where email is intrinsic into the workflow that is established with colleagues, client, or stakeholders—available to collaborate on and contribute to, by anyone who has something to offer. And most importantly, all of this is in the context of the work itself.