Collaboration tools allow people to collaborate, their purpose is to offer support for two persons or more in order to achieve a common goal or objective. With the advent of Web 2.0, collaboration tools moved towards software and solutions that provide users with a set of applications for enhancing their productivity. In this article we will give you an overview of these digital tools and see how they can help you in your daily work.
6 Collaboration Tools to Build Your Digital Workplace
- Corporate intranet
A corporate intranet is a private network which only your collaborators can access. This tool can be a focal point of internal communication and collaboration while providing a single point of access of internal and external resources.
A corporate intranet can help you build your company culture and engage your employees. Indeed, capitalizing on engaging content and your digital assets is key for efficient internal communication campaigns.
By relaying the right messages and content on your intranet, you will be able to engage your audience and build your company culture.
With the web content management solution provided with your intranet, you can create and share any type of content that will maximize the impact of your campaigns.
Another common advantage of a corporate intranet is to provide a single entry point for your collaborators.
Your intranet can federate all your business applications, documents, personal information and company news, allowing your collaborators to save a significant amount of time.
In addition, your intranet can allow your collaborators to find easily any type of information they need quickly with up to date content.
With a content management system embedded in your corporate intranet, your internal communication team will be able to control the content lifecycle, publication workflow, manage who has access to the content, find, share and store it easily through the intranet.
Coupled with social components, your team will be even able to monitor the impact of the information shared and allow them to engage your collaborators directly through the content shared.
- Enterprise Social Network
Enterprise Social software focuses on using social components to drive business. What they do is using social networks or relations among people who share the same business interests or activities.
By connecting your collaborators, you will enable a sense of belonging, trigger interactivity and allow people to exchange information easily. These interactions and exchanges can help you leverage your collective knowledge.
Thanks to people profiles easily findable through a social directory, you can connect directly to someone you need and start collaborating together. The ESN can also become handy for organizations that have multi locations, cross-departmental projects or collaborators who are on the go.
With an activity stream focused on the user’s connections, groups and interests in the organization, you can start conversations and share information directly to the right audiences.
This activity stream will centralize discussions from connections, projects and apps, helping gain time and efficiency.
Finally, you can create communities through spaces dedicated to projects, departments or interests.
These spaces can allow you to structure your collaboration with a wide range of collaboration tools (such as document management, wikis or forums) allowing you to capture knowledge through conversational exchanges and interactions.
- Document Management System
A Document Management System (DMS) is used to track, store and manage documents. One of its main benefits is a versioning system allowing you to track and monitor changes made to the document by different users.
The document management system can help you centralize your documents into common repositories It allows your collaborators to store and manage their document in a secure digital workplace, whether privately or share them with others.
Combined with some collaboration features such as sharing, getting notification when the document is edited, the ability to discuss it on an activity stream, the ability to remotely edit a document through any appropriate desktop application and save it easily or implement a workflow to ease the review, validation and publication process, a document management system can thus become a powerful collaboration tool.
Finally, a good DMS allows to manage permissions for accessing your documents and securing any sensitive material.
The purpose being to be able retrieve document easily with a unified search system, document owners can choose to make certain sensitive documentation findable only to select audiences.
- Knowledge Management System
Documents and other types of information assets need to be managed effectively within what we call a knowledge management system.
A knowledge management system (KMS) allows organizations to collect, store and access information. It provides ways to structure and build a living collective intelligence for your collaborators.
A DMS can perfectly be one of the components of a KMS since part of the knowledge of a company is stored in documents. That way, with a collaborative online document system, you can store, share and edit easily your content securely.
Another interesting tool to capture knowledge is enterprise wikis. Enterprise wikis allow you to create online knowledge bases and write, for example, procedures, meeting minutes, reports, etc.
With forums you will be able to capture silent knowledge in a more efficient way. Indeed, your collaborators hold valuable insights that only experienced employees can share. With forums, you will be able to centralize, crowdsource and make valuable insights available through Q&As, discussions, polls, etc. while making it easily findable through your enterprise search engine.
- Chat and Web Conferencing
Instant messaging is allows the transmission of text in real-time. Nowadays, chat as a collaboration tool is increasingly no longer a standalone solution but rather integrated in a broader streamlined collaboration solution.
As for video chat, it allows the reception and transmission of video and audio signals of users from different locations, thus allowing distant coworkers to reproduce the face-to-face experience. With this technology, internal team meetings can also be held at distance.
The interest of this technology is to communicate directly whenever and wherever it’s necessary. It allows to trigger a natural conversational environment, helping move forward on a project without wasting time by waiting through more formal and asynchronous processes of communication.
Web conferencing technologies are also increasingly embedded into broader collaboration solutions nowadays, such as collaborative intranet systems, as these features are necessary when it comes to enabling real-time collaboration within an organization’s modern digital workplace.
- Collaborative Digital Workplace: Bringing the Pieces Together
Even though these collaboration tools can be effective by themselves and serve their own purposes in isolation we can see today that organizations and collaborators would rather see all of their tools and business applications streamlined into one unified platform to ease their work experience.
Indeed, digital collaboration is about transforming your business into a unified successful force by connecting people, tools, information and communication into a one place shop.
Allowing your collaborators to work with a digital collaboration software that encompasses all the collaboration scenarios identified by your key users, fully integrated with your business apps into a single user experience platform, will allow you to ensure a successful digital transformation and to build your digital workplace. Your employees will be engaged, more productive and your organization will be better equipped for building an innovative and solid collaboration culture.
What is collaboration?
Collaboration is “the situation of two or more people working together to create or achieve the same thing”.
➝ See the full definition of collaboration
What are the different types of collaboration in business?
Here are some definitions of digital workplace:
- Team collaboration
- Cross-departmental and interdisciplinary collaboration
- Community collaboration
- Strategic partnerships and alliances
- Supply chain collaboration
How to choose the best type of collaboration?
In order to effectively find the right type of collaboration for your business, you have to follow a strategic approach and answer three common yet critical questions: Where are we? Where do we want to be? And how to get there?
➝ Find out How to choose the best type of collaboration
Why collaboration is important?
At the internal level, businesses try to encourage and seek to incorporate different forms of collaboration in the workplace to lay the foundations for teams to be able to work together with an aim to achieve higher levels of success.
Externally, businesses look to engage in collaborative actions to benefit from others’ expertise, to gather the opinions of their customer base and to get customers and other stakeholders more involved in the development of products and services.
What are the benefits of collaboration in the workplace?
Here are some of the benefits of collaboration in the workplace:
- Foster innovation and creativity
- Better problem solving
- Effectively handle times of crises
- Engage and align teams
- Increase motivation
- Attract talents
Every organization needs above-mentioned collaboration tools but I just believe in the all-in-one tool. I would prefer a tool, which can be useful for different purposes mentioned above. I would just fall for an Intranet with the abilities of Enterprise Social Network, Document Management System, Knowledge Management System, Chat and Web Conferencing and many more.