People who work in small businesses are no strangers to the term ‘collaboration’. An important aspect for business growth, the effects of collaboration can be enhanced through the use of technology. How so, you ask? Well, let’s take a look at collaboration apps.
Collaboration gathers together the talent, knowledge, and strengths of individuals within a team or business. Not only can it foster productivity and spur innovation, but it can also speed up solution-finding: something anyone who’s ever worked in a small business can appreciate. With fewer resources at their disposal than their corporate counterparts, encouraging your team, or several, to work harmoniously together towards a common goal can do wonders for small business development. And using a collaboration app can streamline that process.
What is a collaboration app?
Collaboration apps, also commonly referred to as collaboration tools, are software and online services that are designed to help achieve the goals of a group of people involved in a common task.
These apps come in different shapes and sizes, and have many different functions, dependent on what a business is after. For instance, the purpose of using a collaboration app within a corporate enterprise may look a little different to that of a startup or a boutique creative agency’s reasons. Where one is perhaps looking to strengthen trust amongst colleagues, the other may require it for a clearer workflow overview. Therefore, the type of collaboration app being used will not only be a different product, but provide a different service altogether.
The different types of collaboration apps you can find on the market are:
Team messaging apps
In any team environment, communication is key. From staying up-to-date with the progress of work you are all involved in, to notifying each other of any changes, it is vital for the whole team to keep in sync with each other. Instead of communication being dispersed throughout emails, text, and social media, using a team messaging app, like Slack, puts all the information in the one place. Common features include private messaging, open forums, as well as video and call conferencing, depending on how sophisticated the software is. A great tool for group collaboration, whether you’re sitting next to each other, or on the opposite sides of the country.
Task and workflow management
Task and workflow management systems automate the coordination of your business’s task and workflow processes. Having a clear overview of the workflow can help your team react to challenges and action things quicker, and help your employees become model workers. Using task and workflow management apps alleviate chaotic conditions, and can help to increase efficiency and productivity.
Project management plays an imperative role in the success of your small business, because without it, there’s lots of room for error. Using a project management app like Zenkit can assist in the smooth-running of the project’s delivery. It keeps team members aware of the project’s progress, reminds them of deadlines and milestones, and is a place for all involved to collaborate effectively. A collaboration app worth investing in for any project-based business.
Internal social networking platforms
Enterprise social networks are Facebook-like platforms used internally within a business to keep everybody afloat on news and updates regarding the company. Small businesses may choose to adopt this kind of centralized communication tool as it helps close the gap between departments, and there are options to create group discussions. It is also ideal for file sharing.
There are collaboration apps that offer a bit of everything. Usually aimed at larger companies, they also have value for smaller businesses who are looking to have their internal social networking, team messaging, and workflow management consolidated onto the one tool.
7 key benefits collaboration apps
Part of modern workplace practices, using collaboration apps can provide your small business with advantages. These include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
1) Easier communication
The instant and relaxed nature of messaging apps in comparison to emails make for easier communication between colleagues, and even clients and customers. No more filtering through your inbox for that important message that accidentally got overlooked under the sea of unread emails.
2) Make budget go further
Video and call conferencing tools can help small businesses cut down on travel and communication costs. With the accessibility it offers, staff members also have the opportunity to work from home, or any location, which can cut down staffing costs.
3) Access to information
File sharing, task, and project overviews give colleagues access to important information in a non-fickle way. Digital forums, and internal social networking platforms can also encourage brainstorming and sharing ideas from colleagues who would otherwise be more reluctant if it were done in person.
4) Environmentally effective
Speaking of digital brainstorming sessions, a major benefit of using collaboration apps means turning your office environmentally friendly. Think of all the paper and post-it notes that won’t be needed when everything is done online.
5) Better decision making
With information centralized, and everything visual, it can help with informed decision making. Not only will data be easier to analyze, but the collaborative nature of the technology means you’ll have suggestions, opinions, and assistance from colleagues.
6) Increase employee satisfaction
Productivity no longer means being tied to a desk from 9am to 5pm. With easier communication, the opportunity to work from any location, and the access to information readily available, using collaboration tools can have an overall positive influence on efficiency, and employee satisfaction. A satisfied and efficient workplace also reduces work-related stress — a bonus for all involved.
7) Improve collaboration
The ultimate purpose of collaboration apps is, of course, to strengthen the bonds of collaboration between colleagues. As previously mentioned, the success of a small business has a lot to do with how individuals work well together to achieve a common goal. With better communication, and information access at the tip of your fingers, using a collaboration app can help you achieve exactly that.
Progressive small businesses know that using a collaboration app is the way forward, be it for communication, internal networking, or a smoother project management process. However, bear in mind that introducing any new tool or device may not be met with the warmest welcome. The successful implementation of collaboration apps has a lot to do with how individuals respond to the technology. Just remember that these things work best when people actually enjoy using them!
What collaboration tool do you enjoy using? Tell us which and why in the comment section below 😉
Dinnie and the Zenkit Team