This is a guest post by Andrew Donnelly of Mikogo.
It’s no secret that cloud collaboration software is becoming a force to be reckoned with in business today. It is predicted that the industry will be valued at close to $6 billion by the end of 2018. Technology, and collaboration software in particular, helps companies to work smarter, faster and more productively, thus achieving business goals and reaching targets. In essence, collaboration software enables us to work with remote workers and clients anywhere in the world.
Collaboration is no longer a buzzword and it’s no longer about having the latest cool iPhone app. It’s so much more. Collaboration software for businesses is a necessity. It greatly facilitates communications, boosts productivity, and enables you to reach markets and clients which you never thought possible.
Collaboration software’s great secret
In fact collaboration software has been quietly, yet rapidly, spreading itself into so many facets of our day-to-day work that without it, many of us would struggle to complete our work! It has become second nature to us, so much so that we actively collaborate online without even thinking about it.
And although this may seem like a fantastic reality which to find ourselves in, it does present one problem – a lack of awareness, blinding us from seeing the greater “collaboration picture” (so to speak) along with its true potential.
For example, many of us utilize one collaboration tool (or just one function of a tool) for one purpose and think that’s it. And then when asked, “Do you use collaboration software?” we reply positively. But not only can we get more out of that one tool, there is an abundance of other collaboration software tools out there which can facilitate our work even further.
The truth, in my opinion, is that we are not employing collaboration software to its fullest, leaving great potential for businesses to further reap the benefits of this technology.
To list all forms of collaboration software or their use cases, would be overkill for this article. To get you started, here are four forms of cloud collaboration which I believe most businesses today can benefit from:
Four Ways to Collaborate Online
1. Task Management
Collaboration software, like HighQ Collaborate, allows us to organize, delegate and manage work activities in the cloud. Teams can log into platforms or apps simultaneously, from any computer or smartphone, anywhere in the world, to receive updates or overviews of the progress of a project or to send reminders to team members.
Likewise, one message can be sent to the entire team from within an platform or app, rather than risking leaving someone out of the loop by using various applications to relay the same message to everyone. This creates a central point for communication which is easier to manage than trawling through your email folders looking for that old email or contact. This makes for more concise, reliable communications and reduces the margin for error.
2. Hire the best talent
Online collaboration software has enabled companies to extend their reach into a global talent pool. Companies are no longer limited to local talent. Instead, they can source the best talent remotely, and built successful working relationships regardless of either party’s geographic limitations. As such, collaboration software allows us to hire the best talent, at a fraction of the cost of relocating the person or paying for travel expenses. With better talent, companies can leverage the higher qualifications and skill-sets of their remote workers to make the most of their human resources expenditure. For finding the best talent, I recommend oDesk which has a comprehensive database of freelancers to complete your short-term projects or hire on a longer-term basis.
On the other hand, consider the reverse scenario. You have hired the best talent for the job and now he or she needs to move cities, either permanently or just for a short stint. The cost of hiring and training a new person is quickly forgotten when you can continue to work with your employee in their new location – hiring and keeping the best talent.
3. Virtual meetings
Modern meetings no longer mean busy commutes, expensive travel plans and large (also expensive) mahogany boardroom tables. Online meeting software, such as Mikogo, allows people to meet from anywhere in the world, even if they are in different countries. Companies can save a tremendous amount of money in travel expenses by embracing virtual meetings. Additionally, employees can take advantage of more opportunities by making better use of their time, which is no longer wasted on traveling and waiting for other attendees to show up.
Virtual meetings take place in real time, when all parties are present. During these meetings, any screen content can be presented to attendees, who will see the same on their screens.
Thanks to collaboration software, training sessions can easily be facilitated online, speeding up the process for all parties concerned. At the start of the article I mentioned that one problem we see in the collaboration software market is lack of awareness to benefit from the full potential of this technology. Consider this: you could use online meeting software to host training sessions in how to use your own product/service, your website, or even your company’s chosen Task Management tool – this is collaborating online to learn further collaboration software techniques!
4. Expanded client-base
Collaboration software is not only useful for working with clients online. More companies are using online meeting software to meet with their prospects online. It provides the ideal, non-threatening environment for presenting services to prospects or to existing clients.
Furthermore, online collaboration software gives companies access to clients that were previously out of reach due to their geographic location or discomfort with travelling for non-virtual meetings.
This post is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits of collaboration software. In fact, every business can benefit in its own way from customising their choice of collaboration software based on their activities and unique corporate culture.
More companies are embracing the use of collaboration software, and as applications become easier to use, it is expected that it will become the norm.
For me the key is still awareness and training. There are a great number of collaboration software tools at our disposal but we are still to benefit from their full potential. If you’re a business using collaboration software or thinking of employing a new collaboration tool, I suggest you spend the time at the beginning learning from the software provider’s training programs to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
Discussion: Do you use online collaboration software in your business? We’d love to hear about your experiences and advice for those businesses looking to take the plunge.About the Author: Andrew Donnelly is the Online Marketing Manager at Mikogo. He manages the Mikogo websites and is responsible for coordinating all product marketing projects, including content creation, communications, CRO, social media, and press relations. Follow Andrew on Twitter: @mktad.