As it becomes more and more clear that effective workplace collaboration increases productivity, more companies are starting to realise the importance of investing in the right collaboration solutions. Let’s take a closer look at how encouraging your employees collaborate better can have a positive impact on company innovation and productivity.
Enterprise collaboration is essentially the term to describe a company’s communication systems and ways of working together. Enterprise collaboration solutions are the tools or platforms which enable businesses to share information and resources more efficiently. This could include everything from simple communication tools (including emails) to more complex project management systems.
There are a huge number of enterprise collaboration solution options out there and new tools are released every year. Some of the most well-known digital collaboration tools include the likes of Trello, Slack, and Google Drive- all of which have become very popular in a short space of time.
There are also more bespoke enterprise collaboration solutions that businesses are using, such as the software solutions that Avocor offer.
Businesses are becoming increasingly globalised, with multiple teams working and communicating across continents. Face to face interaction isn’t always possible. Collaborative technology helps to break down the physical and departmental barriers that could pose an issue for a team project, especially for larger teams.
Though tools such as shared folder systems and Outlook calendars have been around for a while, more innovative enterprise collaboration solutions are now being used to coordinate teams from around the world. These include online portals, collaborative social media tools, and messaging tools such as Slack.
With the rise of flexible and remote working, enterprise collaboration is increasingly important. Video conferencing has evolved and tools such as Skype make it possible to have high-quality audio and video calls with from anywhere in the world. And best of all, they’re easy to install and free to use.
Video makes it possible for employees to be involved in meetings while retaining their flexible working practices and being on the go. Employees are less tied to the physical office space than they ever have been, making it possible for them to travel more and work outside normal office hours if needed. This leads to a natural increase in productivity and innovation.
Innovation often stems from open communication and the sharing of different ideas. The evolution of enterprise collaboration solutions has made it possible for employees to communicate on more platforms than ever before. It is now possible for teams to remain in touch through phones, video calls, instant messaging, social media, and online communication systems. Having so many interaction points makes connection easier, and you can choose to communicate using a tool or method you and your audience are most comfortable with.
The fact that many of these systems also make it possible for multiple users to engage with each other at one time means brainstorming and sharing ideas in a large group is also much easier than it ever was. This makes it much more likely that fresh ideas will be brought to the table, as diverse individuals across different departments can bring their expertise to a joint forum.
Enterprise collaboration tools are commonly used to share old and new documents and data across teams. This increases productivity as there is no need to wade through tons of irrelevant paperwork to find the information required. Information can either be held in a portal or a tool which includes shared folders. Employees can easily search for and locate exactly what they need, leaving them more time to focus on productivity.
Since innovation also often requires looking at the past to see what has been done before, collaboration tools that offer access to documents by previous employees are crucial. Employees can look back at past projects and results to see what has worked and what hasn’t, which can inform where the business should innovate in the future.
The days of having to email different version of edited documents back and forth to each other are long gone. Document sharing software is one of the most popular type of digital collaboration tools out there. Tools such as Google Docs make it easy for multiple people to work on a single document at a time and make live changes together. This makes collaborative working much more efficient. It is also much easier for employees to remain up to date and be sure that they are looking at the latest information.
Social media is now no longer being used just for personal time. Many businesses are embracing enterprise social media networks to enhance collaborations and communications between employees. For instance, Yammer and Chatter are socials tools that have become popular for connecting teams. They give employees a chance to connect with their team mates on a more informal level, bringing them closer together. Unlike public social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, it is possible for enterprise social networks to be kept completely private so that any information or data is kept secure.
Managing a large project with multiple stakeholders is never an easy task. However, the latest project management tools such as Trello and Google Drive make it so much easier to take care of all the administration and information sharing that a big project requires.
There are also tools available to help with things like budget management and scheduling, which have taken a significant workload off individuals who would be responsible for it. This then makes it possible for employees to be focus on other tasks and leaves more time to innovate and think of new ideas.
With all the benefits that digital collaboration systems offer, it is easy to see how they can have a direct impact on productivity and innovation in the workplace. And it will be exciting to see how the enterprise collaboration space continues to develop over the coming years, tapping into the full potential of employees and streamlining processes to create a more efficient working environment. Once the correct tools have been invested in, it is then important to educate employees on how to use them and to make sure they are utilised correctly. Get this right and you will end up with a smarter and more productive workplace that is effective and efficient.