Most SME management teams will be familiar with the frustrations of missing out on critical internal communications because existing collaboration tools are expensive, complicated and put the onus on users to do most of the work.
Fortunately, it no longer has to be this way. The advent of cloud-based real-time business collaboration tools, such as Salesforce Chatter, sees us entering a new era where SMEs can potentially break free of the costs and complexities of legacy software systems. This new generation of tools is simple to use and delivers relevant information to individual users – based on the people, documents and applications they have decided to follow.
Through these business collaboration tools, managers can quickly pinpoint the most appropriate employee for a specific assignment by browsing team members’ self-maintained business profiles, which can include professional experience, areas of expertise and past project responsibilities.
Time is not the only commodity business collaboration tools can help you manage – they can also keep you on top of vital information needed to close a deal or clinch a critical sale.
Status updates, such as those available in Chatter, empower employees to automatically keep colleagues updated with dynamic alerts and prevent duplication of effort. File and link sharing give staff the opportunity to provide additional context around a project, sales deal or customer support case.
Business collaboration also allows employees to keep their eye on the ball in areas that matter to them, with real-time feeds providing updates on people, applications and documents. These updates can even highlight time sensitive developments, such as a new sales opportunity or a change in customer contact. This allows employees to be more effective and enables the SME to do better business.
In addition, real-time business collaboration helps your staff to reduce the time they would previously have wasted searching through in-boxes or file servers for important documents – this is an often overlooked critical productivity enhancement. With tools like Chatter, staff can instantly and securely search the relevant feeds to access, share and even download material through an internet browser or an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry or Android device.
In summary, the emergence of cloud-based real-time business collaboration provides a solution to many key business challenges that will be familiar to SMEs. Using this approach will empower your employees to ‘know it now’ to have instant access to the key information they need to be more effective. In this way too, it will drive greater success and help your company achieve a significant competitive advantage.