Online collaboration tools are becoming increasingly prevalent, as companies take advantage of the cloud’s file storage and sharing capabilities to make teamwork easier and more efficient. Andrew Filev of Wrike, the cloud collaboration and work management platform, shares his top tips to help businesses find the right tool for their team and get the most out of their chosen solution:
1. Trust your technology addicts
Every company has a few early adopters who make a hobby out of discovering the latest technology before everyone else. Instead of taking the time to sift through a growing list of cloud-based collaboration apps, find out which tools your team is already using. If there’s a productivity app they’re hooked on, explore how the rest of the team could benefit.
2. Use fewer tools for greater visibility
The value of the cloud lies in simplicity and ease of access, so keep your collaboration technology ‘stack’ modest. Too many logins and information spread across a slew of different apps hinders visibility and communication, and slows your team down. Find a few tools that provide your team with tangible benefits and keep your tech stack simple.
3. Integrate everything
Marketing, Developers, Sales, Operations — a successful company needs all its teams to collaborate efficiently. And yet each of them have their own processes, priorities, and communication preferences, not to mention favorite tools. With the proper integrations, your collaboration app can consolidate information, instead of dispersing it between a dozen disparate tools.
4. Prioritize user experience
You won’t reap the benefits of your chosen collaboration tool if your team doesn’t actually use it. Ease of adoption and user experience should be a top priority, not an afterthought. Look for tools that are easily personalized, and ease your way in with a few key features that will make your teammates’ lives noticeably easier.
5. Improve processes, don’t just replicate them
Simply moving daily work chaos from your office to the cloud isn’t going to solve any problems. Use the opportunity to evaluate and refine your processes. Uncover sticking points where miscommunications and errors commonly occur, identify steps that don’t add value, and simplify where you can. (Just be careful about doing a complete overhaul, since introducing new tools and an entirely new process simultaneously can be overwhelming for your team.)
6. Centralize team communications
You want to consolidate your team’s communication, not give them yet another tool to monitor. 52% of respondents to our 2015 Work Management Survey said that searching for information was their #1 work stressor. So make your collaboration app the default communication tool — instead of email or other apps. Your team will know exactly where to go to find work discussions, without having to search lengthy email threads or message histories.
7. Don’t neglect in-person collaboration
The cloud isn’t a cure-all. There will always be times when a face-to-face meeting will be better for working out details or brainstorming as a group. But you can use your cloud apps to enhance the experience, by storing call or meeting notes in a shared tool for reference, or by creating and assigning tasks as action items are discussed.
8. Lead by example
If you want your team to collaborate in the cloud, make sure you’re setting the right precedent. Assign them tasks, mention them in comments, and respond to the updates they send you. Establish the cloud environment as the best way to reach you.
9. Customize your settings
Instant notifications can work wonders for visibility, but a constant flow of pings can also be overwhelming and distracting. Many apps allow you to manage your personal notifications so you only get updates on what’s important to you. Make sure you configure your notification settings and explain how to do so to the rest of your team. This may sound obvious, but a lot of people don’t take the time to do so.
10. Keep it fun
Who says business needs to be all business? Nothing says “Great work!” like a high five gif in task comments. Adding a little bit of humor into your work environment — even if it’s a virtual one — boosts spirits and improves collaboration. Encourage your team to use their work tools to have fun and show some personality.
Wrike is a SaaS-based work management platform with over 10,000 organizations using its paid products. Translated into 10 languages, Wrike has more than one million users in 120 countries. Major global blue chips including Paypal, MTV, Adobe, Cap Gemini and HTC use Wrike. Awarded Cool Vendor status by Gartner in 2014, Wrike was named one of the fastest growing companies on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ List in 2015.