Business collaboration has been revolutionized by the introduction of cloud working. There is no longer the need to physically transport documents from one place to the next, or to have to conduct meetings with clients face-to-face. Instead, millions of businesses are embracing the use of cloud-based software in order to make daily real-time collaboration easier and more secure. So how exactly has business collaboration evolved over recent years? And how will it continue to do so in the future?
The cost of refusing to evolve
Sometimes it can be hard to identify whether a new trend is worth buying into, and it can also be difficult to change yours and your colleagues' habits from ‘the way things have always been.’ But refusing to evolve can be the downfall of a company. A study conducted by Salesforce reported that 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as a cause of workplace failures, highlighting that strong collaboration is extremely valuable within business and should be taken seriously. If embracing a new way of collaborating may seem risky to a business, it is worth considering the cost of not adapting, and changes can always be made in small steps.
How business collaboration has evolved
Embracing of new technology
The most significant changes to the way we work have come off of the back of the developments of technology, affecting almost all areas of business undertakings from communications to file storage. It has also had a considerable impact on the way we work due to these advancements becoming affordable and widely used in professional settings. Where once a single computer was thought of a lavish expense, multiple devices and screens are often necessary for one single employee.
The developments in technology for businesses and the way they collaborate has had a huge knock on effect with softwares and products that are available to help us work better together. Software is now available to assist you with every aspect of work that you can think of, broken down to help you with even the smallest of individual tasks. Software that can hugely benefit the way a business collaborates together include project management, file editing, and automated social media posting.
Email isn’t the only answer
Before the rise of real-time online collaboration tools, email was also one of the most popular ways of sharing and communicating in business. As email is accessible from the Internet, users can swiftly pass on information from person to person in seconds. However, email can often cause delays in productivity when used for anything more than back-and-forth communication between two individuals.
Though email is still a large part of business collaboration today, it is too heavily relied upon by some companies with them expecting too much from email. An online business collaboration tool is much more appropriate for sharing multiple large files and communicating with several clients and colleagues at once, all from within a much more secure environment. This is because unlike email, business collaboration tools offer increased security, real-time collaboration and unlimited file upload size, as well as a much more easily navigable system to find the files you are looking for.
Becoming proactive instead of reactive
There was a time in business when improving your relations with a client may have warranted sending a fruit basket, or rewarding your employees for long years of service with an expensive clock. It is becoming much more common for both customers and colleagues to move away from favouring physical gifts and valuing intangible benefits like investing in career development or flexible working agreements, and a sense of value that comes from investing in your colleagues emotionally.
Both of these desires have a beneficial impact on the way a business collaborates together. Regarding your clients, instead of having processes in your business that cause a lot of errors that require you to make grand apologetic gestures, you can invest in having the best technology to support your processes and impress your customers with great service regularly instead. Similarly, if your colleagues feel they are enabled to do their job well by being provided with what they need, they will be better motivated to keep performing well and are able to work with others when they need to.
Changes in business priorities
It is becoming much less common for companies to be so strict with traditional markers of work being achieved and they are more likely to trust their colleagues to be able to get the job done in their own way. Businesses have shifted from clock watching and pushing employees too hard to get the most value out of them, to valuing keeping them fresh and healthy, and hopefully committed to staying with the company.
This change of priorities is then reflected in the changes of how colleagues then work together. Longer, drawn out meetings can instead be facilitated through regular direct messages or on discussion boards as and when needed. Working together can also be done remotely, and flexible working patterns can be granted, as you are still able to collaborate together through a strong online software that facilitates this like a collaboration portal.
Changes in our whole lives
It has become much more common for a work life balance to be valued and actively encouraged by businesses, with some countries even going so far as to implement laws on when you can contact employees out of work. This is a more severe example of defining your time away from the office, but it is becoming more common to see in the workplace, with a greater emphasis being placed on trust between colleagues.
With this switch to a defined end of the work day being stuck too and even the introduction of shorter working days or shorter working weeks, colleagues are likely to be better rested - and when they are at work, more productive. With less set working hours, how time is spent is more carefully considered, and when teammates do come together to work, they achieve more.
A move away from in person
Until very recently, face-to-face meetings and conferences remained one of the main ways in which businesses have collaborated and communicated with colleagues, clients and partners in real-time. It was seen as being the most effective way of generating new ideas, working on projects and closing deals.
However, since the growth of cloud computing and, more specifically, cloud-based software, many businesses have begun the transition from in person to cloud working – whether that’s for information sharing, hosting meetings, or collaborating on projects.
This transition is due to the benefits that businesses can enjoy from making the switch. One notable example being that geographical location becomes less of an issue with online collaboration tools. Businesses can come together, virtually and in real-time, with worldwide-based clients, without ever needing to meet in person. This is arguably a cost-effective and time-effective benefit for both the company and client.
The future of business collaboration
From reduced IT costs, increased security and improved mobility, the use of online tools for day-to-day business collaboration will continue to grow, as millions are exposed to the benefits of the cloud. The cloud has revolutionized the way in which businesses collaborate and communicate in a working environment.
Online business collaboration tools enable colleagues, clients and partners to come together from across geographical and organisational borders, unlocking your potential for flexible and efficient collaboration and communication. If you're a business owner or employee considering the use of cloud based software for business collaboration and even more benefits; here's an infographic on how they can assist you and your business.
And if supporting your business’s collaboration through the use of a cloud portal is of interest to you, you can book a demo with our team to see the benefits of Clinked’s online platform for working together with colleagues.