If you run a business in which nothing gets done without collaboration and communication, this article will be of immense value to you. The cloud has transformed the way in which businesses collaborate. Collaboration tools no longer mere “assistive” products. They have become the lifeline of organisations. Wiki’s, emails, and newsfeeds have expanded to embrace mobile and broadband technologies that nullify distances between groups of people and bring them together here and now. Teams of workers can now, collaborate, communicate, discuss, and innovate together in “virtual communities”, identify the challenges, work around problems and arrive at solutions interactively, whatever the time or zone in which they are residing.
A Forbes report on cloud based collaboration tools lists out four advantages of collaboration in the cloud:
1. Accelerate business results
2. Revolutionise communication across time and geographical boundaries
3. Improve the efficiency of business processes
4. Enable innovation
The reported survey indicated that organisations that were more familiar with cloud collaboration tools were more likely to hold a “positive view of their value”. The survey divided the respondents into leaders, followers, early majority, late majority, and laggards, according to their responses to an initial set of questions. Further, questionnaires revealed that the “perceived value of cloud collaboration tools” varied between the categories in proportion to their exposure to and use of the cloud collaboration tools. In other words, the greatest impact of cloud based collaboration tools on their business was felt by those who had used them more.
Cloud based collaboration business benefits listed out by some of the “leaders” in this survey include:
1. End of faceless communication. Even where databases are scattered and accessible at only one end of the communication channel, videoconferencing has made it possible to make the engagement more meaningful.
2. Prioritisation of tasks has been made possible with document management tools, and communication tools that come packaged with cloud collaboration. For the first time, important tasks can be highlighted and brought to the attention of those who need to know and act immediately. Linearity of communication can be by-passed.
3. Collaboration tools provide more than literal communication. Employees can now update profiles to inform their colleagues of their area of expertise or tag important issues so that they get the attention they need, when it is needed.
4. Duplication of effort within the business is considerably reduced, and employee productivity improves with easier access to information.
5. Problem solving and innovation becomes a reality.
6. Allows greater communication with customers and suppliers.
7. Supports business scalability.
8. Enables new products and services.
9. Reduces operational costs.
So, if you have not given a thought to cloud based collaboration till date, it is time to sit down and think again and plan accordingly. Find out how important it is to you, and to your business!