Digitisation has changed the way we communicate both in our personal lives and increasingly when doing business too. People are used to connecting with one another remotely and being able to access information wherever they are from any device. As businesses are required to be increasingly agile and responsive, technology is playing a bigger part in their success than ever before.
The following technical solutions outline ten ways that technology is improving how we communicate at work.
1. Social Spaces Help Generate Ideas
If two heads are better than one, think how much power you could generate with an online knowledge-sharing network for your business. Yammer is one such business solution that, like Facebook, gives people a place to post problems, find solutions, discuss ideas and collaborate. Because Yammer is based in the cloud, content can be made visible and available to all.
2. Departmental Barriers Are Broken Down
Cloud services like Yammer also break down the barriers that traditionally exist between departments. When an individual in one team posts a problem, colleagues in other departments get visibility of the issue. They can then volunteer existing solutions, share skills or good working practises.
As Yammer says, you’ll get access to “information you never knew existed” within your organisation.
3. Email Overwhelm is Reduced
From texting to instant messenger applications, we’re used to contacting our friends at the touch of a button. Now businesses have adopted this trend by introducing online messenger services that enable employees to talk to one another and customers quickly and seamlessly via on-screen icons.
Microsoft Team provides seamless project management and linked online team chats so employees can follow the thread of the conversation and join in with emojis, gifs and stickers.
It also seamlessly links with office applications like Powerpoint and Word allowing employees to move naturally from conversation to work and back again.
Yammer also has its own messaging app which enables employees to move away from email reducing inbox overwhelm and the associated stress this can cause.
Facebook For Business helps growing organisations promote their products or services online. Included in the functionality is a messaging app that enables instant conversations with customers “to make suggestions, encourage purchases and offer support.”
4. Decrease Travel Spend With VOIP
If your customers or teams are based in different locations it’s likely you incur a high spend on travel in terms of both money and time.
To avoid these costs, many organisations invest in Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to enable communication to take place over the internet.
Skype – probably the best-known VOIP product – is used to host over 100 million meetings globally every month. Frequently used for international calls, Skype supports national and international expansion for growing businesses without a massive phone bill.
Users can make phone calls, send messages or video call anyone who downloads the free software. The video conferencing facility is particularly popular because it allows people to share presentations and hold virtual meetings with colleagues or clients, reducing the need for expensive travel.
5. Improved Productivity with Cloud Computing
Why would you take all your favourite Microsoft Office programmes, like Word and Excel, out of your server and into the cloud? Because cloud solutions give you, your teams and clients access to documents at any time, in any place from any device.
In the past, employees could only access computer files if they were in the office, logged in to the business’ computer network. Which could slow work down or decrease employee flexibility which can curtail productivity.
Now you can improve flexibility and productivity because cloud services give employees and clients access to files on the road, at client locations or from home. You can also host business systems in the cloud to provide employees with everything they need to work remotely.
6. Collaborate with Your Head in the Cloud
Another benefit of cloud services is the opportunity to collaborate seamlessly. Because all your documents are stored in the cloud – think of it like a hard-drive in the sky – they can be viewed or edited by clients and colleagues within the same team or across the organisation.
In the past, collaboration meant emailing copies of documents backwards and forwards with the risk of sending old versions or losing track of changes. Now everyone can work from a single source document in real time speeding up collaboration and reducing email traffic.
7. Save Space and Money
Cloud computing also eliminates the requirement for in-house servers. This can save power and remove the need for server support. It also frees up floor space which is critical for growing businesses. And, because your teams will be required to save fewer documents on their devices, you could save on hardware costs by buying machines with smaller memories.
8. Improved Sharing and Organisation
Large organisations often build their own intranet, a repository from which employees can access systems, files, folders and more. Creating your own version could be an expensive project too far which is where SharePoint’s off-the-shelf intranet option comes in.
Another online app, SharePoint is advertised as a mobile, intelligent intranet where users can:
“share and manage content, knowledge and applications to empower teamwork, quickly find information and seamlessly collaborate across the organisation.” SharePoint
SharePoint is customisable so it can be designed to reflect your company’s brand and in practice its use varies significantly between businesses.
Some organisations use it to create document libraries or enable approval processes or workflows that are accessible from anywhere.
9. Manage Projects – Without a Spreadsheet
The days of managing projects using gantt charts on spreadsheets are numbered. Modern workplaces use sleek online tools – like Asana, Basecamp, Trello and Microsoft Teamwork – designed specifically for project management.
You can invite people inside or outside of your organisation to collaborate on projects allowing you to bring teams of employees and clients together to work on a particular venture.
Project team members can store files online, update project statuses and message other team members in-app. Reporting is at the touch of a button reducing much of the administrative burden.
10. CRM – Come Again?
Every business department has different needs when it comes to systems and technical solutions. In the past, this has meant multiple individual systems to meet the needs of HR, Finance, Sales and Marketing.
Now, Customer Relationship Management systems mean you only need to invest in one system that does it all. Better yet, these systems provide management oversight of the entire organisation supporting business growth. Again, such systems are cloud based, making touch-of-a-button reporting available from anywhere.
Today’s digital workplaces bring employees and clients ever closer by enabling collaboration, communication and connection. Effective technology is at the heart of this change and is critical to forging productive business relationships within and beyond your organisation.
Invest in some of the solutions discussed in this article to strengthen relationships and enable business growth.
To find out how to train your team’s to use this technology to the best effect, read our recent blog
How to Engage Employees with New Technology.