There is no doubt that technology has changed the way we work today. Perhaps most significantly, it has changed the way we communicate and collaborate in today’s working environments. Whether we are in an office, store, factory or at a remote outpost with no-one for miles around, we all take for granted our ability to reach out and communicate with other people.

There are numerous ways to use technology to increase business collaboration in the workplace. However, the tools we choose need to be considered carefully.

Future Proofing

Whilst it is impossible to know how we will be using technology 10 years from now, if you are considering implementing new technology to enhance business collaboration, it makes sense to consider the future requirements of your business.

How user friendly will the option you are considering be if the business expands? Will it fit in with future initiatives and projects? Will it work for your customers? Is it something which is likely to be updated to be able to deal with emerging technology or will it be out of date in a few years and need replacing?

Efficiency

It is tempting to get carried away when looking at options. Just because technology can provide you with 23 different ways in which you can interact with colleagues, customers, suppliers and clients, do you need that many options? Or is it likely that this will create more work as your staff spend time monitoring the various options and pulling the data together?

There could be a risk that important communications will be missed if there are too many options. Some areas may not need different or increased ways to collaborate. Consider carefully what will work well for your business rather than trying to make an overly complicated solution fit.

Security and Accessibility

Increasingly, it is possible to use cloud-based tools for business collaboration. This gives you the security of knowing that the tool will be efficiently managed and your data will stored in compliance with the relevant legislation and your own stipulations without having to rely on resources in-house (although it is your responsibility to verify this).

Your IT services provider is likely to have several options that will meet your needs. Working with them to ensure your needs are fully understood is crucial to ensuring that the right tool is implemented for your business. Cloud-based options are often attractive as they allow flexibility when accessing the tools and data, meaning it is easy for employees to work from home or when traveling if needed.

Best Fit

To get the most from collaboration tools, you need to understand how they will work for your business. Ideally, you will want something that will save money, increase productivity and which will make communications more efficient both internally and externally. If the tool is something that will also be used by clients to interact with your business, it must also be easy for them to understand and to use intuitively.

Effective business collaboration is key to moving your business forward. Collaborative tools need to fit with your needs and your culture. Most importantly, they need to make things better and easier, not more difficult.