Changing the way people work with Gen AI Business Chat, connected to internal data

An Undeniable Opportunity

64% of employees do not have enough time or energy to do their job.*
86% of people turn to AI to find the right information.*

Generative AI in the service of internal employee’s productivity and efficiency.

In today’s business world, the need for increased productivity and efficiency never stops. Picture a workplace where each employee can use a sophisticated AI, similar to ChatGPT, but tailored to work perfectly with your company’s own documents and databases.

In this case, Generative AI acts as a virtual collaborator, always on hand to assist your team. It’s like having an intelligent assistant that understands your company’s language, processes, and information ecosystem. This AI can sift through vast amounts of data, summarize key documents, draft emails, and even generate reports, all in a fraction of the time it would take a human. It’s not just about doing things faster; it’s about doing them smarter. By offloading repetitive and time-consuming tasks to AI, employees can focus on more creative and strategic aspects of their work, thus enhancing overall productivity.

Moreover, this technology is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it’s highly adaptable to the specific needs of your business. Whether you’re in finance, healthcare, or any other sector, Generative AI can be tailored to understand the nuances of your industry. It learns from interactions and evolves over time, becoming more efficient and more aligned with your business objectives.

The potential impact on employee efficiency is substantial. With instant access to information and the ability to quickly generate content, employees can make faster, more informed decisions. This leads to a more agile and responsive business environment, where innovation is not hindered by information overload or bureaucratic processes.


Overchoice: The Adoption Dilemma

The Challenge of Excessive Options Leading to Low Adoption Rates

The introduction of Generative AI into the workplace, while revolutionary, also brings a significant challenge: the temptation to dive into an ocean of possible applications, leading to a diffusion of focus and a potential decline in adoption rates.

This pitfall is particularly pronounced in environments where technology adoption is often driven by novelty rather than necessity. With an array of functions at their fingertips, employees might find themselves lost in a maze of options, unsure of how to effectively integrate this powerful tool into their daily workflows.

This paradox of choice can result in underutilization of the technology, as users grapple with where to begin or how to best apply it to their specific needs.

To address this challenge, it’s crucial for businesses to adopt a strategic approach to implementing Generative AI. This means identifying and prioritizing use-cases that offer the most value to the organization and its employees. By narrowing the focus to a few key areas where the AI can have a significant impact, businesses can streamline the adoption process and ensure a smoother integration into existing workflows.

Playground’s Vision: Focusing high value use-cases

At Elqano, our journey with Generative AI technologies led us to a pivotal realization: the most impactful applications often lie in addressing fundamental, everyday challenges.

Information Search

Revolutionazing Data Accessibility

In the vast sea of digital information, companies today face the daunting challenge of effectively retrieving relevant data. This critical need for precise and efficient information retrieval directly impacts business efficiency, decision-making, and the capacity for innovation.

Building with those realizations, we made a focus on how employees interact with and utilize data, combining the efficiency of a sophisticated search tool with the interactivity of a chat interface.

Powered by Generative AI, we designed the tool to allows users to not only swiftly access information from extensive corporate document bases, but also engage in a conversational manner to structure, analyze, and challenge the retrieved data. Users can ask questions in natural language, as if talking to a colleague, making the process intuitive and user-friendly. This approach not only simplifies data retrieval but also adapts to the unique information landscape of each business.

Searching for internal working methodology

Searching for a specific document

Search a key Information in existing databases

Ramp-up knowledge on any topic/industry

Competitive intelligence gathering

Intelligent daily task Assistance

Enhancing overall productivity

In the contemporary workplace, an alarming 64% of employees face a critical challenge: they simply do not have enough time or energy to perform their job duties effectively. This statistic reflects a broader issue in the modern work environment. Many factors contribute to this situation, including high workloads, tight deadlines, and the pressure to multitask across various projects.

The integration of the most capable AI models, such as GPT 3.5 Turbo, GPT 4.0, and Llama 2, into a platform like MS Teams represents a significant advancement in workplace technology. By connecting users with these powerful tools, they gain access to an intelligent assistant that can profoundly transform their daily tasks. This technology does not merely automate routine tasks; it offers a sophisticated level of assistance, enabling users to engage with complex problem-solving, content creation, and data analysis in a more efficient and effective manner.

This approach not only enhances productivity but also supports employees in managing their workload more effectively. It reduces the cognitive load of handling multiple tasks simultaneously and allows for a more focused and strategic approach to work.

Synthesize documents: studies, articles…

Enhancing meeting note-taking

Analyze complex documents: studies, reports…

Real time language translation

Spell Checking

Write and Generate content for articles

By honing in on key areas like information search and daily task assistance, we made the decision to focus on practical, impactful use-cases that resonate with the everyday needs of businesses.

elqano and the “Smart Skills Mapping”

Complicated to know who has experience on which subject in a large company. Expertise profiles are typically not filled on a regular basis. So how do you effectively connect people and their knowledge in an organisation?

We regularly share with you our vision of the evolution of our solution. Today, we zoom in on a key feature of elqano: “Smart Skills Mapping”.

What elqano does today: automatic identification of tacit expertise

One of the key points of our solution is the relevant identification of experts on any subject.

In order to connect those who have questions with the right “experts”, elqano automatically carries out a detailed analysis of the documentary productions and uses of all employees, and assigns them up to fifty expertises and a score on each of their expertises.

Because we are convinced that every person has experience, expertise and knowledge that can help colleagues or simply benefit others in the company.

Q1 2022 roadmap objective: increase employee engagement

By spring 2022, we want to expand our solution in this area of expert profiles.

Thus, we have integrated into our deployment roadmap functionalities enabling users to consult their automatic profile autonomously (“in which fields am I identified as an expert by elqano?”), to correct it, to specify it by prioritising its expertise, and to enrich it manually.


– Yann Echeverria, Founder & CEO elqano

These new functionalities have only one goal, to feed our initial ambition, namely to facilitate informal exchanges in companies, to capture them, to capitalise on them so that they benefit everyone.

In the back office, the functionalities are also evolving. For knowledge managers or platform owners, we are working on a dashboard of expertise and knowledge flows. Equip companies with a real monitoring tool to visualise and quantify in real time the connections between teams and shared knowledge: what knowledge/expertise is present, exchanges or lack of exchanges (barriers), trends and skill gaps.

Knowledge Management Systems do not work anymore for large-scale knowledge sharing, here is why

About 4 years ago, I had an idea, or better say an intuition, on how to change the way people find and share knowledge and information in large organizations. It took me 4 years to execute this idea with a few key steps (find funding, build  a team, launch MVP, engage pilots & test at scale with relevant clients. It now seems right to explain the thinking process behind it.


1 – Knowledge sharing is still unsolved. (or why even think about this?)

While I was still working at a global FMCG company in Geneva, one friend of mine had to do a market research to prepare a strategic recommendation to a VP to enter a new market. It took her 6 months to gather all information, knowledge and data needed to write the recommendation. While she had almost finished, one day, the coffee machine at our floor stopped working (we were at the 4th floor of a building where 3500 people were working). She went to the 3rd floor and started talking with someone she did not know, when she realized that this person was working on a very similar project for several weeks, without knowing each other’s, just one floor below.

When she told me the story, I first laughed, but after some discussions I realized that this was happening in all large companies (we have met with 500 of them in Europe mostly, none of them told us it was not a serious topic for them), more often than not, and that it had an impact not only on productivity, but also on quality / / innovation.

2 – Why traditional Knowledge Management Systems (KMS) and Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) do not work anymore?

Traditional KMS are based on three assumptions: 1) knowledge is detained by official experts 2) it is part of their job to spread this knowledge across the organization and 3) they do so. In today’s world, knowledge is rarely detained by a small number of employees. If you have a question about AI in general, you may want to speak to an official AI expert but if you start a new project on AI applied to traffic lights in Santa Fe, you may prefer to talk to a young engineer who worked on a project last year on traffic optimization in Wellington.

If the first assumption does not work, the second is even worse. As knowledge is spread across all people, you have to get all employees to share it on a dedicated platform, which is practically impossible. Only 5 to 10% of employee actually share their knowledge on dedicated platforms.

ESN understood that the first assumption did not work anymore; they proposed an unstructured and open sharing platforms, but they did not find a solution to the collapse of assumptions 2 and 3.

3 – When do we take the time to share knowledge and help others?

Since only a small proportion of employees share their knowledge, the question is: how to get the rest of them to do so?

Generally speaking, if we think about when we help others, there are prerequisites:

People tend to help each other when they know the person they are helping, or at least when they know the person needs help and they can see it. One of our clients did an internal study and realized that 85% of their employees shared knowledge only once they knew that it could help someone in particular.

Most people tend to share knowledge when they feel legitimate on the topic. It is only when they have worked on the topic extensively that they will take the time to share what they feel as valuable.

4 – So how do we use these two insights to create a new way to share knowledge.

We reverse the process. Instead of asking people to share their knowledge in a dedicated platform in case someone will need it one day, in the coming months or years, we ask them to share only when someone is asked a very specific question on the topics, they are the most knowledgeable about. So they can see that it helps someone in particular right now. And they feel right to share what they know.

Coming back to elqano, how do we do that in practice:

1. Someone asks a question to elqano. For instance: an analyst from Dubai asks “did we ever do a project on NFT in the metaverse?”

2. Elqano analyses the question and finds the most knowledgeable person to answer (using AI and big data, more on that in a later post). Elqano discovers that a consultant worked on a metaverse NFT project 6 months ago

3. The consultant receives the question, with something like this: “hey, you, your colleague from Dubai needs your help, and your knowledge is critical to his/her mission, would you be so kind to connect and share what you know?”

The usual answer is: sure.

Mission accomplished? Almost

As any start-up, we are constantly improving our product, working with our clients every day to change the way people share knowledge in companies. One of the last biggest challenges we “face” with is the following: “people don’t know what they don’t know”.

Sometimes, we don’t even think possible that someone could help us (or sometimes even worse we are scared of others’ perception), and we don’t do something as simple as asking a question. To change that will require a bit of cultural change and some new tech features (more to come in a later post), but I am convinced that the change is coming and that we will soon transition to a society where everyone knowledge is interconnected to create more value and innovation.

Elqano and Microsoft, the perfect match

The elqano team is delighted to be a Microsoft partner, an important support in the development of elqano. A look back at elqano’s relationship with Microsoft

After the integration of elqano into the Microsoft For Startups programme last March, the links with Microsoft have reached a new level: elqano has officially become a Microsoft partner. A key recognition for elqano.

Chloé Garcia, Partner Development Manager ISV & Startups at Microsoft, and Yann Echeverria, Founder & CEO of elqano, share with us their impressions about the growing relationship between elqano and Microsoft.

What is elqano?

Yann Echeverria, elqano: elqano is a solution that connects people in companies, based on knowledge sharing.

In concrete terms, this takes the form of an intelligent plug-in in Microsoft Teams that automatically connects employees with questions to those who have the experience, knowledge or documents to answer them.

The matching is carried out using artificial intelligence algorithms.

What is the history between elqano and Microsoft?

Yann Echeverria, elqano: At the beginning of the elqano adventure, we realised the enormous potential of Microsoft among the first early adopters of Microsoft Teams in France.

The usage rates were very high: I was convinced that Microsoft Teams was going to become the tool that every employee would open first when they arrived at the office in the morning, along with their mailbox.

It was therefore important to create a 100% integrated solution for a smooth and efficient user experience.

Since then, we have developed this relationship and joined the Microsoft For Startups programme in March 2021 to strengthen our technical collaboration, even enriching the partnership by becoming a Microsoft co-seller last October.


– Chloé Garcia, Microsoft

How did elqano get spotted by Microsoft?

Chloé Garcia, Microsoft: Microsoft is a privileged partner of startups, accompanying them in a genuine partnership approach that is both technical and commercial.

The elqano team has done an outstanding job in the technical development of these features and the integration of our Microsoft solutions.

The complementarity of our solutions and the elqano solution allows us to have a relevant value proposition for optimising the daily use of digital work tools such as Microsoft Teams at our customers’ sites.

We are therefore very pleased to support elqano in the development of innovative solutions capable of revolutionising the employee experience.

Why is it important for Microsoft to support startups like elqano?

Chloé Garcia, Microsoft: For more than 10 years, Microsoft France has created and nurtured programmes to contribute to the development of tomorrow’s startups and companies.

We give priority to startups offering innovative B2B solutions that have the potential to support companies in their digital transformation and in areas of high economic and societal importance, such as knowledge sharing between employees.

We are proud to have elqano as one of our reference partners in this field.

What is the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub programme?

Chloé Garcia, Microsoft: For more than 10 years, Microsoft France has created and nurtured programmes to contribute to the development of tomorrow’s startups and companies.

We give priority to startups offering innovative B2B solutions that have the potential to support companies in their digital transformation and in areas of high economic and societal importance, such as knowledge sharing between employees.

We are proud to have elqano as one of our reference partners in this field.

What will this partnership with Microsoft bring to elqano?

Yann Echeverria, elqano: This partnership brings us first of all recognition and technical support. We are working hand in hand to continue to improve the integration of our solutions and to offer an even smoother user experience to each of our customers.

Microsoft’s support is also a guarantee of quality and reliability for our customers, who feel reassured by this partnership.

What can the combination of MS Teams / Sharepoint and elqano create value / bring to your customers?

Yann Echeverria, elqano: The strong adhesion of the teams to Microsoft Teams means that a lot of data and documents circulate there. But this data is not always used to its full potential.

The integration of Microsoft Teams and elqano allows for a better understanding in real time of who is working on which topics (thanks to the data exchanged on Microsoft Teams which is analysed by elqano).

This combination of Microsoft Teams data and elqano algorithms creates new connections between employees who work on similar topics without necessarily knowing each other, and thus creates new synergies for our customers.

Chloé Garcia, Microsoft: The integration of elqano reinforces the value of our collaboration tools and offers a new experience based on the data directly available in Microsoft Teams.

Easy to deploy, elqano completes the experience of our tools by proposing a real tool for collective intelligence that decompartmentalises knowledge and reinforces connections between collaborators.

A wish from the Microsoft team for elqano?

Chloé Garcia, Microsoft: Success and success in becoming the benchmark solution for collective intelligence in business!

Human resources, AI and big data: will HRDs become “Data Sharing Masters”?

Talent management is at the heart of companies’ HR concerns. Human resources means data and flow management: identification / referencing / location of expertise, internal mobility, recruitment, training, company culture, internal processes, corporate information, etc.

What is the place of data in HRM?

Gimmick or real innovative tool, where does artificial intelligence really stand on these HR subjects?
And what if AI allowed HR departments to refocus on people?

After years of talking about digitalisation at all levels of companies, particularly in the HR field, we can see that companies have come a long way in realising that they need to change and review the way they work on a daily basis.

If the digitalisation of processes, new collaborative tools and more transversal corporate cultures are tangible facts in organisations, the current challenges and the pandemic context have shown that it is necessary to go further in the reinvention.

– Ankala V. Subbarao

Not confusing digitalisation with automation, putting people back at the centre, revaluing expertise, strengthening the collective despite increasing teleworking, and developing well-being at work are the key issues today.

And all of this, of course, with the need to develop or maintain business leadership and increase profitability in a highly competitive global environment.

Make digitalisation great again!

AI is emerging as an essential partner for HR departments today and in the future.

AI should certainly relieve employees of low value-added tasks, but it should also help them to become more competent, to better connect with each other, to value their expertise and know-how, to be identified for their real skills, to progress in their career, and generally to feel better in their work.

To this end, HR departments that are already using AI solutions seem to agree on one thing: AI should / can not be used simply as a ‘patch’ tool here and there in the current HR environment and operation. AI leads to an in-depth, almost systemic rethink of the way human resources are managed. Whether it is to get the most direct benefit or simply to transform, the HR profession must rethink itself in the light of AI.

The HR function handles an enormous amount of data, and AI represents an opportunity to optimise performance in this area, a powerful lever for cross-functionality, but also an indicator of situations that were previously invisible.

In concrete terms, AI is a booster in many HR fields of application:

Smoother HR processes / employee autonomy

Career management / mobility


Onboarding of new recruits


Identification of expertise and “expertise gaps

Training (self-training, peer-to-peer training, etc.)

Creating links between employees / transversality

Capitalization of knowledge

Corporate culture
The employee experience
Empowerment / motivation of employees

Well-being at work

What role for HRDs in the future?

It may be a bit of a disruption to turn HRDs into “Data Sharing Masters”, but the idea is nevertheless worth exploring.

The HRD of tomorrow will clearly have to know how to handle data as well as people.
He/she will accompany the transformation of the company thanks, in particular, to technologies such as artificial intelligence applied to human resources management.

These skills are all the more necessary as the acculturation of employees within the company to what underlies the innovation of AI and data is a major challenge of data upskilling. AI will be (and is already) part of the daily life of teams, so it is necessary to help them understand the main principles of these subjects, and therefore to master the fundamentals themselves.

No, the HRDs of tomorrow are not destined to become the “Data Sharing Masters” of companies, but should clearly be Human Data Masters!

How to adopt a positive work culture in your company?

With the spread of teleworking and the hunt for talent, organisations need to rethink their working methods and more generally their internal culture. The aim is to develop a more positive approach among employees. Here are some explanations.

Temporary work that lasts! If there was any doubt at the beginning of the health crisis, it now seems certain that hybrid work (face-to-face + remote) will persist in the coming years. And this for a simple reason: it is the wish of employees.According to a survey we conducted, 30% of employees said they would be likely to change jobs if they had to be in the office every day,” said Bryan Hancock, partner at McKinsey. in a recent article on hybrid work – Bryan Hancock, partner at McKinsey.

As human capital becomes scarcer than financial capital, companies will need to adapt to the demands of top talent.”

Bryan Hancock, partner at McKinsey.

In other words, this new hybrid situation will undeniably have consequences for the way work is organised in the future. As a result, many organisations will have to rethink their internal culture (management, values, etc.) to make it more positive and therefore more attractive. It is quite simply a question of survival. According to McKinsey, companies with a healthy culture perform three times better than their competitors.

Valuing the potential of each employee

So much for the theory, now it’s time to inject this wind of positivity into organisations. How can we do this? At Elqano, it seems to us that one of the first conditions for this change is the development of the potential of each employee. Today, it is a question of reinforcing the feeling of usefulness of each and every one of us to carry out our daily mission.

Since the health crisis, many employees feel that their work should be more than a job. It should be a purpose in their lives. This creates an interesting opportunity for employers to help teams find more meaning in their assignments.”

Bill Schaninger, senior partner at McKinsey.

This valorisation is of course achieved through the attention of colleagues and/or superiors (congratulations, thanks, etc.). It must also be the result of individual awareness. Within the organisation, each employee must be able to individually measure the importance of his or her role for the smooth running of the activity. I think (that I am useful) so I am (happier at work).

> Find out how Elqano can help you enhance the value of your employees

Creating and maintaining a link between people

Moreover, in a world where the office is no longer the alpha and omega of corporate culture, managers are also encouraged to create, maintain and strengthen links between employees. With a simple motto: put the human element first!When I intervene in organisations, I am often surprised by the progress made by certain teams after just a few free speech sessions,” explains Christine Cayré .When I work in organisations, I am often surprised at the progress made by certain teams after just a few free speech sessions,” explains the Collective Intelligence Facilitator.

“Everything is based on sincerity, respect and listening. By taking the time to tell each other what works, what doesn’t and what we want together for the future, we strengthen the bonds between members of the same team. 

Christine Cayré Collective Intelligence Facilitator.

Managers are advised that this connection requires time and stamina, but is a very relevant investment. Christine Cayré therefore recommends that free and compulsory exchange sessions be regularly included in the agendas. This task can also be entrusted to volunteers within the teams. As part of a mission within the Montpellier University Hospital, thirty facilitators (managers, doctors, etc.) have been trained and are now both ambassadors and guarantors of the institution’s collective intelligence ambition. ” The positive culture must not only be initiated by managers, but also be carried out internally,” says Christine Cayré.

> Create links between your employees with Elqano

Encouraging collaboration

Finally, a more positive work culture also depends on the organisation’s ability to facilitate and encourage collaboration between teams. This includes breaking down the silos that too often keep different departments apart and prevent joint initiatives.

“During the pandemic, we found that communication and connectivity increased within teams. However, the links between teams decreased considerably. Yet these are crucial to ensuring a company’s ability to innovate.”

Bryan Hancock, partner at McKinsey

In addition to encouraging the emergence of projects between teams, managers must also ensure that they break down the preconceptions and representations that hinder collective energy.The anti-culture of positivity is the culture of prejudice,” insists Christine Cayré. Unfortunately, they are inherent in the way work is divided up, with departments that do not know each other. One of the phrases I hear most often at the end of a day of support is: I didn’t know what you were doing, now that I do, I can see better how we can work together. The ultimate demonstration of the benefits of implementing a positive culture within an organisation. It is now up to managers to bring it to life and cultivate it within their companies.

Elqano: AI for a positive work culture

Integrated with MS Teams, our solution allows you to use digital technology to create a positive work culture within your organisation. By analysing your document databases, our artificial intelligence technology identifies the expertise of the various members of your team. The goal? To connect your employees who have questions on certain subjects with those who can answer them. A simple and effective tool for activating the three levers of a positive work culture: creating links, valuing the work of each individual, and encouraging collaboration.

How ROI Management Consulting consultants are using Elqano to share their information more effectively

By pinpointing expertise, connecting teams and decompartmentalising knowledge, Elqano’s collective intelligence solution is the perfect fit for challenges facing consulting companies. And that includes the collaboration between the start-up and ROI Management Consulting, which began in 2020.

Advise: a doing word. “To tell someone what they should do, to recommend something or someone”. Just look up the term in a dictionary and you’ll realise just how important the notion of knowledge is within the consulting business. Unsurprisingly, Monika Eglseer, Knowledge Manager at ROI Management Consulting, agrees. For the last two years, the Munich-based company specialising in operational consulting – with five offices in Europe – has been using Elqano’s collective intelligence solution to streamline how it shares information internally. “Knowledge is a key issue for a company like ours. We must be able to share the work and research we have already done, and apply them to a new project. That’s where the tools we had been using in the past came up short. So we were on the lookout for more innovative solutions.”After a few months spent learning and configuring the tool, the Elqano solution was offered to internal consultants in the summer of 2020. Based on a question and answer system, it soon proved to be highly efficient for the teams.

“Elqano has helped to quickly unearth a lot of knowledge. We were even surprised to see that by analysing our document database, the solution perfectly understood our consultants’ requests.”

Monika Eglseer, Knowledge Manager at ROI Management Consulting.

In a nutshell: the idea of a consultant spending their time duplicating work that had already been done by a colleague is now a thing of the past.

How consultants are using elqano

Another sign of how ROI Management has successfully adopted the new solution is the involvement of its user community. Last January, the use of Elqano actually achieved a response rate of 100%, with an average lead time of only 24 hours. This was above average performance compared to the start-up’s customers, and it has been growing steadily for two years. “We found that the consultants had adopted our solution to learn about very specific topics with high added value,” says Manon Faure, Customer Success Manager at Elqano. This success is partly based on the management team’s involvement at the beginning; they encouraged the consultants to use the solution until the habit stuck.”

“Is there a case study that outlines a blueprint for production planning in an assembly plant?”
Example of a question asked by a consultant from ROI Management Consulting through Elqano

As well as making knowledge easier to share, the solution from southwest France also allows ROI Management Consulting to rise to another current challenge for consulting firms: changes in organisational methods. “By connecting teams with experts directly, Elqano helps us to move towards a more decentralised, horizontal and less hierarchical form of collaboration,” says Monika Eglseer.

Supporting the merger with Efeso Consulting

On the strength of these encouraging results, the two European entities are set to work together even more closely over the coming months. Firstly, because the Elqano team will continue to offer its client regular events designed to promote the use and adoption of its solution (frequently asked questions, analysis of discussion topics, etc.). But also for reasons internal to ROI Management Consulting. In the summer of 2019, the German group merged with Efeso Consulting, another specialised player in the field, which is particularly focused on industry 4.0.

“Does anyone have any good documents on reducing working capital and benchmarking in the A&D industry?”
Example of a question asked by a consultant from ROI Management Consulting through Elqano

As part of this merger, the Efeso Consulting teams will also benefit from Elqano’s services. All that will go on amplifying knowledge sharing, to reconnect people with each other and raise the quality of the missions to respond more easily to calls for tenders. The solution is even currently being deployed among these new teams. “Our relationship with Elqano has evolved from client-supplier to partner,” says Monika Eglseer. Its team has always been proactive and supportive. As a result, it is perfectly natural that it now benefits from the growth of the company.” Ultimately, the French collective intelligence tool should provide solutions for almost 500 people at Efeso Consulting. It will then become a key element in the future IT infrastructure that the two merged entities will share. “This additional contract demonstrates our ability to meet the needs of consulting companies,” concludes Yann Echeverria. We must benefit from the faith placed in us by ROI Management Consulting to go on innovating and offering new features to their consultants.” The future has lessons for everyone.

Remote work and transversality: the complicated equation

In an age of everyone at home and chat for everybody, is it really possible to develop remote working without aggravating the silos?

One of the most significant effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the world of work has certainly been the paradigm shift in where and how work is done.
Whether in an open space, a closed office or jogging on the sofa, work is the same.

No more need to constantly expand office space to accommodate new teams. Realise that in the end what matters is that the work gets done.

This reshuffles all the cards in the world of work. You don’t manage your teams in the same way at a distance, you don’t always have the same comfort as in the office, you don’t exchange information in the same way, and social ties are certainly the most negatively impacted. Gone are the days of informal discussions, meetings in the lift and impromptu lunches with colleagues.

According to a recent study carried out by researchers on Microsoft teams in the United States before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, the meteoric acceleration of telework, perceived as a democratisation for some and a boon for others (including Microsoft), ultimately proved to be a brake or even a setback in terms of breaking down organisational barriers.

Researchers commissioned by Microsoft have analysed the working habits of more than 60,000 Microsoft US employees.
During the first half of 2020, they deciphered all interactions between employees (emails, calendars, chat, video, calls, collaborative tools, etc.).

And here is the result: “Our results show that enterprise-wide remote working made the workers’ collaboration network more static and compartmentalised, with fewer bridges between disparate parties. Furthermore, there was a decrease in synchronous communication and an increase in asynchronous communication.

Despite the accelerated digitalisation of companies, the impressive offer of collaborative tools, and a massive adoption of them (due to the pandemic), communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing are the big losers.

This observation demonstrates the importance of social ties within companies, the intangible part of informality, and above all highlights the crucial role of human assets within companies.

A company is not a sum of people or a pile of expertise. A company is organic: it is a continuous flow of skills, knowledge, know-how, emotions, desires and ambitions that collide and interact on a daily basis to create the company’s value and culture.

Collaborative tools create wonderful bridges and a virtual network between employees, but they do not really connect them.

At elqano, we provide this thin but essential missing layer: creating the paths among these bridges, connecting needs and knowledge, questions and answers, in short connecting people.

For more information on Microsoft’s study on the adverse effects of teleworking: click here

Read also : the article by Guillaume de Calignon in Les Echos

How to improve collaboration in a teleworking context

Today, with the advent of new technologies, more and more companies are adopting telecommuting as a mode of operation. This offers many advantages to employees and employers alike. However, this transition to remote working also brings with it a number of challenges.
In this article, we’ll explore the common obstacles encountered by employees in the teleworking context, and share all our expert advice to help you foster collaboration within your structure.

Barriers to teleworking

Remote working can be very useful for companies wishing to improve their performance but, is not without its challenges. Two of the main obstacles employees can face are communication and time management. Indeed, ensuring clear communication and optimal management of working time can quickly become difficult in a virtual environment.

Remote communication

Setting up remote collaboration is a challenging step, especially when it comes to communication. Working remotely offers greater flexibility, but also creates communication concerns. Without face-to-face interaction, employees can feel isolated from their projects and their team. This distance blocks understanding and the sharing of ideas.

Communication, limited by virtual tools, can lead to misunderstandings. Body language cues, which help clarify interactions, often disappear, leading to misinterpretations. These misunderstandings lead to delays, errors and reduced quality of work, affecting the overall efficiency of the team and the company.
How can this situation be resolved?

There’s no doubt that the use of appropriate communication channels is essential to maintain effective collaboration between teams. Regular virtual meetings are an effective way of resolving problems quickly. Collaborative platforms and file-sharing tools are also very useful for maintaining open communication. You can, for example, set up brainstorming sessions to strengthen links between colleagues and foster better communication.

Time management

The transition to teleworking introduces significant changes in your employees’ working methods, challenging their ability to organize the time allocated to each task effectively. These problems become more complex when the team has to coordinate its actions. The fact that telecommuting isolates employees can lead to situations where each person works individually, without having an overview of the others’ progress. This separation leads to redundant efforts and, ultimately, lower productivity.
How can you keep your teleworking staff productive?

There are several solutions available to you, and you can combine them!
Start by implementing an effective global organization strategy. This involves defining a clear timetable, setting precise objectives and prioritizing the tasks that are essential to effective time management for each of your employees. At the same time, encouraging flexibility within the team by allowing schedule adjustments according to need can help adapt to telecommuting.

Opt for high-performance collaborative tools that encourage knowledge sharing, facilitate communication and optimize the use of your employees’ time. These effective solutions strengthen collaboration, improve mutual understanding and boost your company’s overall productivity.

Essential collaboration tools for telecommuting

Instant messaging: the ideal tool for fluid exchanges

Instant messaging platforms provide a friendly, easy-to-use interface. They maintain a real-time connection between collaborators, facilitating direct and effective communication with all teams, wherever they may be. The result? More effective coordination and faster exchanges that help boost productivity and creativity, while creating a sense of unity despite distance.

Did you know?
With instant messaging platforms, you can create project-specific discussion channels, making targeted communication simpler. You can also organize virtual meetings, offering almost face-to-face interaction. If required, you also have the option of integrating third-party tools for a smoother business experience.

Tools to simplify your project management

Project management tools offer a convenient visual interface. They let you keep track of your tasks and distribute them among different collaborators. Using them, you can organize your projects by priority and assign responsibilities to each collaborator. You can also add comments, deadlines and attachments, create dashboards, track dependencies, manage resources and collaborate with your team with ease.
By opting for these project management tools, you’ll get a clear view of task progress, even when working remotely.

Videoconferencing for interactive virtual meetings

Videoconferencing plays an essential role in keeping communication flowing, even for employees working remotely. By using these tools, you can encourage real-time interaction, team discussions, brainstorming sessions and all kinds of collaboration. Screen-sharing functionality adds a valuable visual dimension to communicating complex information clearly and convincingly.
Whether for regular meetings, training, product presentations or other professional needs, videoconferencing helps maintain a direct connection that strengthens team cohesion, even across geographical distances.

Tools for sharing files

When you opt for telecommuting, these tools become real business assets. They play an essential role in bringing all information together and enabling targeted access control to key parties.

Put simply, they let you store your documents in the cloud, which means you can access them from any connected device. Using these tools, sharing files is a breeze, and you can specify who can view or edit. You can choose to be read-only or editable.
As an added bonus, they make it easy to collaborate in real time on the same document, making remote teamwork much smoother. And to top it all off, they even connect with software like Google Docs or Google Sheets.

Agile methods

In turn, agile methods improve efficiency and collaboration in the workplace. These are perfectly suited to the context of remote working.
They are based on the division of projects into several distinct tasks called “sprints”. These tasks are then assigned to all employees, so that the set objectives can be achieved.

Did you know?
To improve teleworking collaboration, it’s advisable to combine agile approaches with the use of digital tools. You have the freedom to select the technologies that best match your company’s culture.

How to cultivate a collaborative corporate culture

When it comes to telecommuting, it’s crucial to promote a collaborative culture within the company. If a new employee joins the company remotely, the welcome must be just as important as if it were an on-site arrival. It is essential to ensure a successful integration by using video sessions and remote team presentations. Organizing virtual team-building activities can also prove beneficial. You can even provide new employees with the information they need to feel included, even while working remotely.

Why promote employee engagement?

Promoting employee engagement can strengthen collaboration and foster a good dynamic within the company. This involves recognizing their achievements as well as setting up a reward system to motivate them.

What is the role of human resources?

The human resources department can create a better collaborative culture within the company. It can :
Organize training courses to encourage employees to work better remotely;
Mobilize exchange programs to help employees get to know each other better;
Set up virtual events to foster team cohesion.
In order to establish a better culture of telecommuting collaboration, care must be taken to foster the integration of new employees, have a strongly committed human resources department as well as promote employee engagement.

The customer experience in the telecommuting context

Coordination between your teams working remotely can influence the customer experience. To counter this problem, it’s crucial to establish solid communication. When teams work closely together, they are more likely to respond to customer needs and offer solutions tailored to their requirements.
In fact, regular communication enables more accurate monitoring of each project’s lifecycle, contributing to better quality service. It is therefore advisable to maintain frequent communication so that each member is aware of his or her tasks and deadlines.

Do you know Ask Mona?
What do Ask Mona and elqano have in common?
Discover Ask Mona’s success story, and how this fine example of the dynamism of the AI sector in France inspires us to boost the development of corporate culture.

What is Ask Mona?

Ask Mona is a French startup, created in 2017 by Marion Carré and Valentin Schmite, which has completed this autonomous 2021 a fundraising of 2 million euros with Bpifrance, Saga Invest, an investment fund specializing in art and new technologies.
What it offers: an artificial intelligence service that facilitates access to culture to the general public, and offers new possibilities to its professionals. We can’t help but wonder!


– Ask Mona website

How does it work?

Ask Mona is a digital personal assistant available 24/7, which can help us find the cultural events or outings that match our current desires, very easily and according to different criteria (date, price, location, etc…).

This service demonstrates the value of AI in providing access to culture, but also, by extension, to all forms of culture, particularly in companies.

What do Ask Mona and elqano have in common?

#1 – Artificial Intelligence

The main point in common is that both have developed a service based on artificial intelligence.
The AI market is currently expanding rapidly. All sectors of activity are developing their own exploitation of this technology, which has not finished surprising us by the multiplicity of its potential applications.
In the case of Ask Mona, the service offered is twofold: on the one hand, end users looking for information on cultural activities, and on the other hand, the structures and institutions offering culture. The latter, Ask Mona’s clients, are proposing an offer and are transmitters of information. Their objective thanks to Ask Mona: to reach a wider and more qualified public in relation to their cultural offer.
elqano applies this same “recipe” and pursues this same objective: to create a link, to connect needs with solutions. In the case of the company, it is finally a scheme quite similar to that of the culture which applies: collaborators seek information and others hold knowledge.
The connection between individuals and individuals, individuals and contents, that is what is made possible thanks to Ask Mona in the Culture and to elqano in the company world.

#2 – The conversation

Both have relied on a chatbot. Even if search engines are still relevant, the conversational form is more popular than ever.
At elqano, we observe in our studies and among our clients that in the working world, the preferred modes of communication and information retrieval, and considered the most effective, are company chat and informal conversation at the coffee machine!
Usage, whether in the professional sphere or in our everyday lives, has evolved.
Today more than ever, we realise that what works best is to transpose our real/physical relationships into the digital space.

The case of the informal conversation in front of the coffee machine in the office, or the dinner with friends, are perfect examples of what we are looking for today in the development of digital services. These life sequences are simple moments of information exchange. Who is currently working on this topic? What film is on at the moment? So many questions that are answered in these informal discussions.
Ask Mona and elqano have therefore understood this and present themselves as (almost magical!) amplifiers of these behaviours, in the cultural sector for one, and in companies for the other.

In the case of companies, there is a huge stake in capturing this informal knowledge. Indeed, just like formal knowledge, informal knowledge constitutes a large part of the knowledge and know-how of companies, but also a large part of the internal culture of each company.

#3 – Accessibility

Both have set themselves the mission of facilitating access to culture, knowledge and learning for all!
One of the major challenges to which artificial intelligence combined with a chatbot responds is indeed that of accessibility.

Whether it’s finding one’s way through the mass of French cultural offerings or accessing the right information in the workplace, the solutions proposed by elqano and Ask Mona are establishing themselves as seekers who find more relevant answers, more quickly and who create new bridges.

The Ask Mona startup, which is already well established on the French cultural market with some fifty clients – including the Théâtre du Châtelet, the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris Musées, the Grand Palais, the Musée des Augustins (Toulouse) and the Centre Pompidou (Metz) – is looking to expand internationally and is aiming for a portfolio of 1,000 cultural institutions by 2025!

Some links to go further:
Ask Mona website
Chronicle on Europe 1
Article Frenchweb
Article AI News