Collaboration tools can range from social media platforms to enterprise systems such as SharePoint -- but they all share the same goal of increasing employee productivity. Sharing documents, encouraging teamwork and creating efficiencies
in information transfers all contribute to a successful collaboration tool. But finding the right tool that will fit both your business needs and budget constraints can be a challenge.
How can collaboration tools improve employee productivity? What type of collaboration tools are best suited for midmarket companies? Find out with the resources listed below:
Collaboration and employee productivity
Do collaboration tools really increase employee productivity? According to some reports, definitely. IDC research shows that the cost of not finding information is $3,300 per employee, per year -- the result of ineffective searches, poor access tools, reformats, revisions and overall inconsistencies in the data.
CIOs have found that using collaboration tools helped streamline business processes and save money -- thus increasing ROI. By integrating workflows and current data and information updates into one central repository, employees are able to work faster and more efficiently.
Collaboration tool options
Google Wave made a big splash when it was introduced as a platform tying together multiple applications. And while possible use cases are still up in the air (many people still haven't found Google Wave particularly useful yet), one option could be to use it as way to combine the social networking habits of employees with that of business applications -- to get immediate updates about a project status, meeting times, decisions or what is going on with the team.
Using the open source framework, it will also be easier for third parties to integrate Google Wave with their own applications, possibly cutting down on some of the communication and integration problems often found within corporate intranets. Including collaboration tools as part of your intranet strategy will also help prevent static or dated information. An intranet strategy with collaboration products ensures fresh content and gets employees involved with creating dynamic content. But be aware that not all employees will jump on the bandwagon right away and a change management strategy may be needed to ensure proper and active use.
Desktop virtualization frameworks are also used as part of these collaboration efforts, aimed to decouple users from specific computer systems as they work with a wide range of applications -- increasing productivity and optimization. Designed to bring all the information a user requires into one virtual space (a "jobspace"), users can access all the applications, communications and collaboration tools they need.
And for some, the future of collaboration software could be its convergence with business intelligence (BI) applications. Using blogs and wikis could expand the effectiveness of BI and data analytics in the organization and increase transparency. No longer will users have to send out reports or aggregate data -- real-time analytics updates will be available to everyone in one central repository.
Tell us what you want to know about collaboration tools. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was first published in December 2009