Resource type: Blog

Exploiting collaboration software for your business

Collaboration software is designed to make working together easier and faster for both your employees and other contacts such as business partners, suppliers and customers.

The term collaboration software covers a broad category of apps and services. The three core areas of functionality are communication, file sharing and project management.

Some collaboration tools focus on specific areas, for example Basecamp and Asana both offer project management capabilities, albeit from different perspectives. Other solutions are part of integrated offerings – such as Microsoft Teams, an instant chat-based workspace that works with the Office 365 productivity suite.

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So what benefits can you expect to gain from using collaboration software?

Here are just a few examples:

  • Flexibility – colleagues in different geographical locations can easily work together on the same project, helping your business to put together the best possible team for a project.
  • Greater efficiency – it’s easy to quickly set up virtual teams, join up remote teams, or manage complex projects with different participants.
  • Enhanced innovation – collaboration makes it easier to share ideas quickly and openly, and also receive instant feedback on these ideas from colleagues or customers.

Of course it’s important to select the right collaboration software for your specific needs; consequently it’s crucial that, at the outset, you establish its overall purpose, who will be using it and what sort of collaboration features they will require.

A key consideration should be whether it will work with your existing IT systems. Think, for example of the potential advantages of being able to synchronise your project management solution with Microsoft Outlook so that all upcoming events are automatically shown in your Calendar.

When it comes to actually getting started it’s preferable to start small and build from there. Many online collaboration tools allow you to sign up to their service for an initial free period, so it’s possible to experiment for a month or two before committing.

Taking it step-by-step will also enable you to gain a better understanding of what your collaborators prefer using, as well as discovering which platforms work best together.

And finally, bear in mind that collaboration can fundamentally change the way in which many aspects of your business operate. Therefore, if the introduction of a collaboration tool is to be the success you hope for, all of the key players in your business need to buy into it. It has to be part of your organisational culture and deliver an overall benefit to your business.

 

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