Manage Your BusinessManagementIs Your Small Business Using Collaborative Software? If Not, Should It Be?

Is Your Small Business Using Collaborative Software? If Not, Should It Be?

For larger established teams, collaboration software is indispensable, but for early-stage start-ups with few or no employees, there may not yet be a need. Somewhere in the evolution from early-stage to mature company however a leader will need to consider the possibility of incorporating collaborative software. The question is, are the benefits worth the cost? Should management and team leaders be seriously investigating this option or is it just a novelty distraction that will not add to your company’s success?

What is Collaboration Software? 

Collaboration software is software used by multiple individuals sometimes simultaneously, to manage and share information resources quickly and efficiently. It may include project management features, to-do lists, scheduling and calendar features, databases, and document storage.

Why Bother with Collaboration Software? 

Efficiency and productivity are essential to dominating your industry and staying at the head of the pack. Anything that delays reaching targets and deadlines is toxic to a business’s survival, and every tool that will give you an edge should be brought to bear. Productivity and collaboration software has long since proven themselves as indispensable tools for industry leaders.

But Wait, We’re Not a Technology Company 

Collaboration software is not just for technology companies anymore. Almost any business that has grown beyond the start-up level needs to be looking at whether to take advantage of these potentially powerful tools.

Signs That It is Time to Bring in Collaborative Software 

Too Many Project Delays Due to Miscommunication

To remain competitive means to be efficient. Delays in communicating changes can impair a team member’s effectiveness and cause untold frustration. With the right collaboration software, information can be updated instantly, allowing team members to change course should changing needs require it. With the right software, communicating new information can be done quickly and easily, and it remains posted and accessible. In addition, all changes are documented should the need to review them arise.

Is Document Storage Becoming Confusing and Inefficient? 

Who hasn’t been frustrated and delayed when looking for a project file? While this is to be expected from time to time, if it is not managed, it can become a major source of time delays and inefficiency. Worse still, if a document management system is not developed early, it can be exceedingly difficult and time-consuming to implement at later stages.

Are You Experiencing Missed and Forgotten Deadlines? 

Have tasks and deadlines been missed or forgotten due to poor communications? When schedules are posted and updated to a central piece of software, where any member of a team can instantly confirm important timeline events, missed deadlines due to poor communications becomes a thing of the past.

Are Tasks Being Mis-assigned? 

“Did I assign that task to Laura or Timothy?” Have you thought a task had been assigned only to find out on follow-up that there was confusion and the people involved thought someone else had it handled? This is another potential disaster easily averted with the right software. All team members can see what tasks they are assigned with a couple of clicks.

Fewer Interruptions to Workflow 

Have you ever experienced someone interrupting you to ask for some information, only to be interrupted again later by other people asking for the same information? Maybe that information should have been posted to the collaboration software.

Meetings, Meetings, and More Meetings 

Looking for a solution to meeting overload? Good productivity and collaboration software can greatly reduce the need for excess meetings.

Meetings should be as brief as is practical, only involve personnel truly necessary, and focus on information that is difficult to disburse by faster, simpler methods. Those faster, simpler methods are what productivity and collaboration software are about. If a significant amount of meeting time is being spent passing along information that is relative to a small number of the people attending, it may have been better communicated through the company productivity and collaborations software.

Has Covid-19 Changed How Your Business Works? 

Since Covid-19 entered the picture, more and more employees are working remotely. In this case, some form of collaborative software is no longer optional. Connection with employees and contractors demands it.

Happy Employees are Productive Employees 

Poor communications can lead to employee frustration, and employee frustration leads to employee turnover; it’s as simple as that.

Access to Human Resources Just Took a Jump 

With the option of remote working now on the table, the HR department just gained access to a global supply of potential employees and contract workers. If your competitors are capitalizing on this development, and you aren’t, you may be at a severe disadvantage.

What Benefits Would Collaboration Software Offer You? 

Collaboration software has one primary purpose and that is to improve efficiency and, by extension, improve productivity and profits. One way it accomplishes this is by providing access to critical, accurate information that a team member can reference anytime. Information such as user manuals, onboarding resources, milestone marking, task assignment details, task timing details, company policies, contact information, and employee scheduling can all be supplied, updated, and referenced quickly and easily.

Productivity and collaboration software can be used anytime for proofing and reviewing, fast task assignment, monitoring to avoid task overload, checking task status, and quickly updating new and relevant information to all stakeholders.

Reveal Your Weak Links 

The right software can provide unexpected insights into the strengths and weaknesses of systems and processes, allowing improvements and streamlining, creating a stronger, more resilient business. Are you finding that the onboarding resources you went to such trouble to create are not being utilized? Noting how often that file is accessed can tip you off and allow you to take corrective action.

When is the Right Time to Start Implementing Productivity and Collaboration Software? 

For most companies, the time to start planning and implementing productivity and collaboration software is as close to day one as possible. There are many steps to follow when selecting and implementing the most appropriate software. It is best not to rush or force a system to work within your business. Better to allow them to grow and evolve together.

Do you only have a few members on your team? You may still want to add collaboration software to your arsenal; however, your choice of application will likely be different from that of a 200 employee organization.

How Much is This Going to Cost? 

The cost of productivity and collaboration software will be unique to every business or organization. Business is about profit, and the cost of implementing a new software program may not be within the budget. Conversely, not implementing the software (and at the right time) may prove even more costly.

When considering the cost of the software, consider also, what gains may be made. Ideally, over time, the cost should be well outweighed by the long-term benefits. If it isn’t, maybe it isn’t the right time, but if you can avoid delays, improve employee retention, and have a team that is more effective, efficient, and productive, it’s a win.

Ultimately choosing to implement collaboration and productivity software at an early stage should prove to be a major positive step toward improving efficiencies and making your company more profitable and resilient. To get started, consider your requirements and how collaborative software can benefit your unique needs. In addition to researching what functionality you require, consider possible future requirements, and assess the ability of the software to change to meet your future needs. And don’t forget to consult team members at all levels, to provide you with their unique and valuable insights. This is a team tool and team members may offer perspectives unique to their position.

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