Lack of collaboration is a common problem at corporations. Solving it can involve a change in culture or push for greater user adoption, but the foundation of increased collaboration is effective technology.
Many people chase the latest trends, thinking that what’s getting buzz will solve all their problems. Finding the right tool, though, requires a closer look at current organizational processes and technology, as well as the particular pain points your company is trying to solve.
Three of the key areas to investigate are unified communications, video conferencing, and project management tools. This combination, implemented effectively, can spark greater collaboration by making communication and sharing easier.
Cisco Spark for Unified Communications and Messaging
Businesses need to make communication as easy as possible for their employees if they want to see widespread adoption. When it comes to designing easy to use tools, there’s no substitute for experience.
Cisco has been a leader in the field for over two decades, and their Spark platform allows the integration of messaging, voice, and video services in one place. Its messaging features allow both 1-on-1 and team messaging, all of which is easily searchable. Message threads can be organized by teams or departments to enable various levels of collaborations.
Unlike some other messaging services, Spark also includes the ability to call colleagues or clients, as well as set-up video conferences from within the app. Instead of relying on third-party add-on, Cisco Spark does these things natively to ensure the best user experience.
The app works also across different devices, including phones and tablets. The overall ease of using the app allows employees across the country and around the world to communicate seamlessly from a single platform. A chat can quickly transition into a conference call, and this can migrate to a video presentation for a client.
The advanced video functionality makes it easier for employees on the road or working remotely to check in with their team. It ensures team members don’t feel out of the loop. Spark allows departments and project teams to hold more effective meetings and easily switch between chat, calling, and video based on the needs of the conversation. Unlike other services, Cisco Spark easily allows consultants and clients to be a part of the conversation when necessary; inviting outside collaborators is as simple as sending them a link. This combination of services makes it easier for employees to work on projects together or share information across departments.
Cisco WebEx for Video Conferencing and Presentations
While Cisco Spark uses some of the features of this application to enhance team collaboration, Cisco WebEx is built to also be a stand-alone tool with a primary focus on meeting collaboration. Its versatility makes it easy to collaborate with anyone, inside or outside of your organization. Employees and clients can access it through a browser, mobile device, or video system.
Regardless of who is participating, videoconferences have high-level encryption and pin-protected access. A key feature is the ability to record meetings in a multimedia format that includes shared screens. As part of the meeting, you can share files in real-time, use whiteboards to illustrate points, enable comments, and transfer files.
WebEx provides a foundation for better collaboration. Conference rooms can be turned into collaboration centers with videoconferencing built in. Collaboration with clients and customers becomes easier, because they can join the meeting using services like Microsoft Skype for Business. Meetings are recorded and easily accessible for anyone that can’t make it.
All of these features help enable collaborative sessions, from meetings and training to presentations and sales demos. Effective videoconferences can extend the reach of your business while ensuring employees are connected no matter where they are located.
Trello for Better Project Management
Using Trello can help increase collaboration on projects by giving you access to a powerfully flexible, visual tool to map all the moving parts. The cloud-based application, which is available on mobile devices, as a desktop app, and through web browsers, uses a card-based system that can be organized into lists within boards. Each card has its own comments area, checklists, due-dates tags, as well as the option to upload files from your device or using links to services like Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and Google Drive.
Users can set up alerts to be notified of all activity, either through the app or through email digests. Team members can create boards to enable collaboration, and these can be open to everyone on project or limited to just a few key people. Trello allows all of this to happen in real-time.
It can be easily integrated with the Cisco ecosystem to harness the power of their communication tools to further encourage collaboration. By making it easier for employees to collaborate while also establishing accountability through due dates, this project management tool can help boost efficiency.
The Right Tools Set The Stage
The right tools make it easier for employees to communicate, and gets them on the path to greater collaboration. By adding effective tools to workflows, collaboration becomes second nature.
To get to this point, it’s important to figure out the areas of collaboration that matter most to your organization. It could be simple, team-based communication and sharing using an application like Cisco Spark, or it could be a mixture of chat, conferencing, and project management.
If you’re looking for help either assessing your organization’s needs or in implementing a collaborative solution such as Cisco Spark, look to a trusted and experienced partner. ShoreGroup can help.