The Ultimate Guide to Collaboration 2020
Collaboration is not something that usually features in an organization’s priority list. Most businesses just implement the most accessible option for communication and leave it at that. However, studies have shown that the quality of collaboration in companies has a direct bearing on productivity, and ultimately, success.
So what can one do to foster high-quality collaboration at work?
What is collaboration?
Collaboration is the act of two or more people working together to achieve shared goals. In a workplace, collaboration refers to employees sharing skills and ideas to facilitate the completion of a task or project.
Let us illustrate.
Consider the creation of a content marketing strategy. It requires multiple teams to provide input, make requests, or share information. They typically include the content team (team lead, writers, editors), SEO experts, marketing team, product managers, and customer-facing teams. Collaboration allows all these diverse skill sets and knowledge reserves to be harnessed together to set a comprehensive content strategy that is designed to achieve business goals.
What are the different types of collaboration software?
Broadly speaking, collaboration tools can be categorized into communication, conferencing, or coordination.
Here’s a brief look at some tools that fall into the categories described above.
Email is among the most widely accessible and used communication tool in the business landscape today. However, with indiscriminate use for any and every communication need, it can seem like a productivity dead end.
2. Instant messaging (IM)
IM has been around for a while now and is perfectly designed for quick collaboration needs. For instance, a manager can address a request for clarification from an employee over IM. It is also helpful in case of remote or freelance work.
3. VOIP or voice calls
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or voice calls help employees make free phone calls over the Internet. With various options such as ATA (analogue telephone adaptor), IP phones, and computer-to-computer calls, employees can reach out to colleagues or clients across geographies easily.
4. Video conferencing
For meetings that require face-to-face contact but sharing a meeting room isn’t possible, video conferencing is an ideal alternative. It is a live visual and audio connection between two or more people. It has become popular since globalization of business.
5. Enterprise social networks
Sometimes organizations customize social networks for internal collaboration. This, however, has proved useful only for unstructured and spontaneous communication. It can be quite chaotic when utilized as project management alternatives.
6. Shared whiteboards
For those seeking a more versatile version of classic whiteboards, online whiteboards provide an easier way to collaborate. Visual information and ideation can be exchanged effortlessly.
7. Calendar sharing
When colleagues share calendars, it simplifies collaborating schedules, meetings, and work related to-do lists. It works well as a coordination tool.
8. File sharing
File sharing tools allow employees to share different kinds of files (documents, videos, software, and more) and provide access to team members who need them. It eliminates the need to email files constantly.
9. Document syncing
When there is more than one version of a document stored in different locations, it can be time consuming to update each one in case of changes or additions. Document synchronization takes care of this effortlessly. This way, all employees have updated versions no matter which location they access it from.
How does collaboration improve work?
It’s pretty common for businesses to think that the only benefit of collaboration is better coordination between employees. While that’s one of the advantages, it certainly isn’t the only one.
Think of the effects of collaboration from three different perspectives – operations, employees, and customers.
- When done right, collaboration speeds up processes.
- When people, resources, and processes work in tandem, it results in greater efficiency in the business.
- Collaborative operations also facilitate increased transparency.
- Collaboration gives employees a sense of purpose, which boosts their satisfaction levels at work.
- It enables pooling of varied skill sets and data for better outcomes.
- A culture of collaboration helps keep remote workers and freelancers invested in organizational goals.
- Collaboration necessitates cutting through departmental silos. This encourages big picture perspective.
A truly connected workplace makes for happier, more motivated employees who increase organizational productivity and efficiency. When everything within the organization functions like clockwork, you can focus on your customers and ensure that their expectations are exceeded every time.
So how can a business collaborate better? More meetings? Heavens, no!
Why you need software for collaboration
Plenty of organizations feel that collaboration can be managed the old fashioned way with paper and whiteboards. But the reality is that they are least effective in fostering collaboration in the age of information overload.
Software designed for collaboration reap far better outcomes than analog options.
At the outset, effective collaboration software provide a unified platform where employees can communicate, exchange ideas and data, schedule tasks, and stay updated on progress. They can also function as virtual workspaces. This allows the organization to strengthen the workforce with remote and freelance roles in addition to conventional employment.
Further, collaboration software help businesses coordinate in real time with offices across geographies with ease.
With analog collaboration, it’s almost impossible to secure confidential data. Collaboration tools, on the other hand, include features to protect sensitive information with conditional access, alerts in case of breach, and more.
Collaboration software also helps heighten efficiency by enabling better scheduling and more efficient project management.
Analog methods can get the notion of collaboration started but for it to be effective and bring about improvements at work, you need to level up with the right software.
How can you tell when it’s time to use software to collaborate?
Here are some telltale signs that indicate the need for invest in collaboration software.
- Extremely siloed departments
- Unproductive meetings
- Inefficient communication
- Delays in task completion
- Delays in case resolution or providing clarifications
- Difficulty in managing remote and freelance workers
- Chaotic information exchange because of unstructured communication
- Shift in organizational focus from customer satisfaction to putting out internal fires
Whenever you feel that lack of quality collaboration is getting in the way of achieving your organizational goals, that’s the right time to start looking for the perfect collaboration software.
Not all collaboration tools will suit your business, though. You need a software that can be customized to your organization’s specific needs and culture to maximize the business benefits.
How to choose the best collaboration software for your team
Here’s a quick checklist you can use to avoid the clutter and find the perfect solution.
- What are the problem areas? Assess needs of your teams as well as organizational goals that are not being met due to a lack of cohesive workforce.
- What features do you require? Bring in end user preferences as well as technological considerations here.
- What is your budget? What payment terms work for you? Work with your finance team to understand what works for your business.
- What kind of after sale support does the collaboration software promise? How is the quality of support rated by existing users?
- Can the software integrate easily with software your business already uses?
- Are there adequate security features to protect sensitive data?
It’s critical to take the time and effort during the research phase of buying collaboration software. Making the right choice now will pay off for a long time to come.
Kissflow Collaboration – powering effective collaboration
Kissflow Collaboration is a potent choice for collaboration software. It’s designed with ease of use in mind and makes high quality collaboration an absolute breeze. It facilitates file sharing and content creation of varied formats. Confidential information can be protected using secret channels.
Communication can be more layered with nested comments. You can conduct surveys and make announcements effortlessly. Kissflow also has a powerful search feature that can help users find necessary information in an instant.
Kissflow makes for a happier, more connected, driven workforce. With better collaboration, you’ll see productivity soar.
Ready to collaborate your way to the top? Take a customized demo here.