Some companies integrated technology in the workplace to enhance collaboration, but some consider it as a block to achieving their goal. Collaboration is important in an organization as it increases the understanding of individuals. A project is more likely to succeed through collaborative efforts. By working together the team can share ideas in order to address any problems in the organization.
The collaboration online tools offer a lot of benefits to the user. However, it also has some drawbacks that prevent other organizations in using it. Determining the disadvantages of the software can help in making an action plan to overcome the challenges with the software.
Here are some of the benefits of the software, its drawbacks and how to overcome the challenges in order to attain the desired goal of an organization.
Online collaboration tools enable team members to work together, whether they are at home or on the road. It allows the team to be more productive as it reduces the downtime. Files are stored in one location which can be accessed 24/7 by any team members with the use of any internet enabled device. The files can be edited or updated remotely which makes it quicker compared to the traditional methods of collaboration. If there are any changes made on a document a message will be sent to the rest of the team to ensure that they can keep track on the progress of the project. There is no need to individually inform each team member regarding the update since the software can automatically do it for you.
Being connected 24/7 has also a disadvantage as it may create a confusion between the private and professional lives of an individual. Instead of spending time with the family or friends, the team member might just spend the time working. In addition, using a software to communicate can also minimize the personal contact of the team and may cause mix up to their task. Sometimes communicating personality is better compared to just communicating through the internet, especially if there are problems in the organization that can only be solved when the team members are face to face.
To resolve this, ensure that all team members are aware of their functions and responsibilities, then assign effective managers who will be in charge of the workspaces. Take advantage of the task list and calendar feature of the software for team members to manage their time. The task list can help track projects from the start until it is finished. The project milestone can also be monitored with the use of the calendar and it will send an alert to remind the team of the deadlines. Implement the ground rules on what time the team should be online and offline so that they will only work on the time that they are required to and still have a time for themselves. Employees should have a work-life balance.
The collaboration software is cost-efficient compared to the traditional collaboration. The operating cost can be cut since the employees can already collaborate online even if they are located in a different geographical location. A team member can work as long as there is an internet connection available. According to Kahootz, they offer a pay-as-you-go licensing wherein the price of the software will depend on the number of users per month. There are also software manufacturers, such as Wrike who offers a free collaboration software to university students so that they can use it during group assignments and projects. The software can use the cloud as the storage which is inexpensive compared to getting an on-premise server and hiring an IT team to manage it.
One of the drawbacks is you might be paying for a software or feature that you really don’t need. There are instances that software manufacturers made unnecessary charges due to an inaccurate number of users. Moreover, crossing the international barriers and time zones will cost more if the team involves a larger number of people.
In order to prevent this from happening, check on the online collaboration tool reviews from users to learn more about their experience with the software and how they dealt with it. Compare the features and functions of the software to make sure that you will get only the best online collaboration tools for your school or business. If free trials are available, make use of it to learn more about the product and check if it will contribute to the success of your organization.
Managing a Project
Managing a project is made easier using online collaboration tools. All files are kept in one place such as the cloud so all team members can easily access the files. There is no need to send an email or message to the team for any changes or updates made to the document since the software will notify the users regarding the changes. All versions of the document are also saved which you can use as a reference in the future. It can also be restored to the previous version if in case a file has been accidentally deleted. Monitoring the progress of the project is also made simpler and quicker with the integration of the task list and calendar. The work can be divided among the member so each member will have a part in the project. They will be assigned to a specific task and they will be accountable for that task. The integration of the calendar can track the milestone of the project if the deadlines are met or if it is delayed. A notification is also sent to the team if the project is close or passed the deadline. With the use of the calendar, the team member can properly manage their schedule. The reviews on collaboration software can help determine if the software includes personal and team calendar functionality since this feature is very useful when planning for important dates.
The success of a project depends on how it is supervised. Just like any other projects, it may fail if not managed properly. If the roles and responsibilities of the team members are not clear, it may create a confusion and conflict within the team. Personality clashes may occur and the project will suffer.
To achieve the desired goal make sure to set proper expectations, deadlines and goals to the team members. They should understand their roles and responsibilities. Explain what is expected from them and when it is needed. Make conference calls if necessary to make sure that everything is clear among the members. Take advantage of the permission levels of the software. This feature can allow or restrict individuals from viewing, editing or updating a document. The members who only have a viewing capability won’t be able to make any changes in the document.
The software brings different people with different backgrounds together. It is inexpensive and can easily bring any individual to the workspace so more people can be engaged in the collaboration. Working with diverse individuals means the team will be more creative and more efficient. Different angles of the projects can also be considered if the team members are from different technical and professional backgrounds. The collaboration of various individuals can result in incredible ideas and suggestions. If problems or issue may arise, there will be an alternative solution that can be presented which can only be done through the collaborative effort.
The collaborative process can become slower if there are multiple people who are engaged, but don’t contribute to the success of the project. Also, there is a possibility that a member with a stronger personality may take over the discussions and want their idea to be agreed and followed by the team. This may result in a division among the team members and the success of the project will be at risk. Another disadvantage of using the software is it will take longer to make decisions since there is a need to consult more people.
To overcome this problem, evaluate the individuals or the organization before inviting them to the workspace. They should be able to contribute in attaining the goal and not cause a division among the members.
The online collaboration software clearly offers a positive impact whether you use it for education or for business. Although the software has some drawbacks, it can be overcome through good planning, proper management and a combination of the traditional and modern-day methods of collaboration. As much as possible, choose the best collaboration software that suits your needs in order to maximize its benefits.
Consider your internet connection since it is the essential element in online collaboration. If the internet connection is intermittent, you may experience a lot of interruption while working online. The main purpose of the online collaboration is to enable the users to work remotely, so choose a software that is compatible with mobile devices so you can still receive updates even if you are walking or if you are not in front of a computer or a laptop. Check the review of collaboration software in CrowdReviews to determine if the software is ideal for your organization.
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