Picking the right collaboration tools for your business


Singapore, August 10, 2016


Picking the right collaboration tools for your business 

Enterprise collaboration enables employees to collaborate with one another and with partners and suppliers across the globe, making it the cornerstone of business success.
 
According to research firm Frost & Sullivan’s Collaboration Performance Index, collaboration accounts “for more than one-third of the success, or failure, in a company’s business performance. It is twice as important as a company’s business strategy, and more than three times as important as random luck, or being in the right place at the right time.”
 
With collaboration driving business success, it’s hardly surprising that the global market for enterprise collaboration tools is steadily growing. In fact, the market reached an all-time high value of over US$9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2015, going by recent data from the Synergy Research Group.
 
With a variety of vendors providing a broad range of technology choices, what should enterprises consider when choosing collaboration tools for their business? Here are some quick tips to consider:
 
Address specific needs
For starters, companies can start with presence, chat, and conferencing tools that let employees communicate with one another on projects, whether they are on the road or in the office. Once there is organisational buy-in for these tools – and good employee adoption – companies can graduate to more effective tools such as enterprise social networking and document management platforms. These solutions make it easy for users to find one another, share insights in real time and offline, and know exactly where to go for help and information when they need it.
 
Make sure it’s secure
As employees collaborate more with one another – and in some cases, sharing sensitive information such as business plans, customer information and reports – it is important to ensure collaboration tools can protect that data against hackers and pesky cybercriminals. Ideally, they should come with server-side security, so that you don’t have to configure a plethora of employee devices. Server-side security also makes it easy to remove access to tools and corporate data from former employees, especially in organisations that allow employees to use their personal devices for work.
 
Integration with existing systems
Collaboration tools should not be implemented in silos – they should integrate with current systems such as data loss protection, content management and digital rights management within the enterprise. Integration not only ensures the security of your corporate data but also facilitates a seamless work experience. For example, business chat apps should integrate with customer relationship management systems so that co-workers can discuss and act on customer issues in one place.
 
Focus on the user experience
The ultimate aim of collaboration tools is to help employees work better together to achieve business objectives. The user experience afforded by such tools should reduce friction in work processes, speed up decision-making and improve productivity. These outcomes are crucial if you want teams to embrace collaboration tools, and not create workarounds to avoid the tools altogether.