The online collaboration tools improve the way people work together. It helps individuals from remote location to collaborate and communicate with each other to achieve a common goal. Employees can now work at home or even if they are traveling with the use of the collaboration tools. The collaboration software clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the employees so the project will run smoothly.
Benefits of Online Collaboration Tools
The collaboration software offers a lot of benefits for both small and large businesses. Working together increases the interaction and communication among the employees. It enhances the employee engagement as they share their ideas and thoughts to each other. Engaged employees are happier, they care more about their work and they work harder on the tasks given to them compared to those who are pressured in their work.
Online collaboration increases the problem-solving skills of the employees. It is easier to look for a solution if the employees work together using the collaboration tools. They can quickly access the online resources that they need such as the files and documents. Contacting other employees for assistance is also made faster. If there is an important and urgent decision that needs to be discussed, a moderator can create an online meeting room. If an information is needed, you can easily communicate and collaborate with the other team members through email or online chat. A knowledge-base is also available that contains all the information about the company which can be used as a referenceto certain issues. There is no need to call your co-worker for the information since it is already available online.
Different individuals coming from different professional and technical backgrounds can work together and can come up with more creative ideas.If there are any problems in the business, they can provide an alternative solution.
Collaboration tools keep the members updated on the development of the project. The team members that are working on a specific project will get a notification if changes are made on a document or file. You can track the progress of a project using any internet-ready device such as a desktop, laptop and mobile device.
File Sharing Tools
One of the most important features of the collaboration online tools is the file and document sharing. It allows the individuals involved in a project to access the files remotely. The files are saved on an online storage such as the cloud so the team members can access it even if they are in a different location. Viewing, uploading, editing, deleting and sharing of files are now made easier and more organized with the software’s permission level feature. The team members who only have a viewing permission will not be able to make any changes in the file. It adds to the security of the file since it can restrict or allow employees to make any updates. Any changes in the file will show on the file’s history. The previous versions of the file are also stored in the collaboration tool so it can be used for future reference. A roll-back feature is available on some software which allows you to restore the file to the past version. You can check for reviews on collaboration software to determine if the roll-back feature is available on a particular software.
The files can be downloaded to the computer just by dragging and dropping it to the desktop screen. If you want to have a more detailed view of the documents before downloading it, you can use the file viewer to give you a preview of the file. The top collaboration software has the capability to comment, like, follow and even rate the documents and files which enhance the communication and collaboration of the employees.
One of the best collaboration software features is the online chat which allows the team to have a real-time communication through a private or group messaging. Although the email is primarily used as the main tool of communication in companies, it is time-consuming to wait for a response. Also, if the conversation is made through the phone, you won’t be able to go back to the conversation to use it as a reference. With the use of the online chat, there won’t be any time lag in communicating to the team and at the same time, you will have a documentation of the conversation for reference. If you send a message to a person who is not online, the message will be forwarded to the person’s inbox to be viewed at a later time. Sending an attachment or file is also now quicker which can be done by just dragging then dropping the file on the chat screen.
The intranet is like an internal internet of a corporation, a database that can be accessed by employees depending on their permission level. It simplifies the internal communication in a company. The employees can share internal information so there is no need to regularly send updates and emails to the team members. Discussion boards are also available in order to gather ideas and minimize the time of physical meetings. Also, spreadsheets and documents are always updated to removethe confusion among the team members when they are working on the same document.
According to Barclay Jones, the modern-day intranet sites can already connect to external data sources which increase the knowledge of the employees. Aside from allowing users to work remotely, it also joins multiple websites.The user has an option if they want to subscribe to groups, data or information like the RSS feeds.
Aside from enhancing the collaboration, the video conferencing can also be used for webinars and board meetings. It reduces the cost of business trips as the meetings and conferences can already be done through an online meeting room. It is useful especially if the team members are located in a different geographical location and the team needs to make an urgent decision for the organization or for the success of a project. It increases the productivity of the employees as they no longer need to travel and they can continue their work immediately after the meeting.
Most of the online collaboration software is capable of desktop sharing so the participants of the meeting can view the same screen as the moderator. Some software even has an ability to do a remote access as long as there is a permission of the user. Collaboration software reviews can provide more details on how this feature has helped the employees.
Enterprise Social Networking
Individuals with the same interest canconnect and communicate with each other internally as well as externally with the use of enterprise social networking. The internal social tools use the in-house intranet and a third-party program such as Socialcast and Yammer. It improves the collaboration and communication between employees as they work together to solve the problems in the business.The external social network uses the public social media to perform research and get connected with the customers. This helps the businesses to enhance their business operations and processes.Software like the Communifire gives you an update of what your co-workers are doing. You can do a real-time streaming to the most recent developments, conversations and contents that you are linked to. Status updates can also be posted on the wall to keep everyone aware of what is going on.
According to TechTarget, companies today are encouraging their employees to use their skills in social networking for business purposes. Somecompaniesimplemented ruleson their employeesfor the responsible use of the social media to protect the name of the company. This sets the standardson how the employees should use the social media for communication.
There are more types of tools that can be used in the business depending on which software can meet the demands of the company. There are certain things that you need to consider when getting the software to make sure that it will help in the success of the business. One of the most important factors to consider before switching to online collaboration is the internet connection of the company. You should have enough bandwidth required for the software to properly work. If the internet connection is intermittent or slow, you may encounter interruptions or delays while working on a project or while communicating with other employees. The collaboration tool is worth investing. It is less expensive compared to having your own company server and hire an IT team to manage it. The collaboration tool can use the cloud as the storage. Although there are some free collaboration software, if the purpose of getting the software is for business,itis recommended that you invest in the collaboration tool since some features might be disabled on a free version. The collaboration tool helps businesses to be more productive and effective.
What to know how current users rate the collaboration tool that is available on the market? Check the list of collaboration software on CrowdReviews for a more reliable rating from the users.
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