Is your company crazy for collaboration? If not they should be. New webmail technology can drive increased productivity and reduce travel costs! A clear ROI can be defined by implementing these tools. Webmail (either Google for Work or MS Office 365) comes with 5 main applications that all drive improved basic collaboration. Those tools are mail, contacts, calendar, instant message (IM) and some type of drive that store documents. IM and shared documents are not well understood and extremely underutilized. Here are some ideas to improve productivity at your office.
Google uses Hangouts and MS has Lync all placed under the IM umbrella that are closely integrated with your mail, contacts and calendar. Bring your conversations to life and improve day to day interactions:
- IM – instant message is good to answer a quick question or hold a conversation offline when you are on a conference call. A great place to get an answer if you are doing a web presentation. Remember to turn it off when you need to focus!
- Voice – if you couldn’t complete the conversation via IM you can click a button to talk live with the person on the other end. You don’t have to pick up a phone or look up a number, just continue the conversation.
- Video Chat – do you need to continue the conversation by demonstrating something live or getting some other opinions? Move to video chat which is like setting up an instant conference call. Don’t forget what is behind you on screen!
- Screen Share – now you need to demonstrate what you see on your screen. Start a screen share. This is the holy grail of collaboration. A picture is worth a thousand words and and thousand instructions of telling people on the other line of what buttons to click. Show them exactly what you mean. Be careful about picking the right screen or right application, you don’t want to overshare 🙂
All of these tasks can be done from the comfort of your own desk or on your mobile phone. There is no need to book a ticket and jump on a plane. I use IM, video chat and screen share with people all over the world (NY, Seattle, Ukraine, Indonesia and India) on a weekly basis. Video chat certainly creates a greater level of intimacy than a normal phone conversation. IM allows go back and forth on projects that we are working on together. Screen share is where we complete the majority of our work.
There are plenty of products that provide a portion of these features but upgrading to a webmail solution will give your employees tight integration. It is easier to start a conversation with a person that already exists in your contacts. It is more convenient to schedule using the integrated calendar features. This leads to ease of use and better user adoption.
Look out for a discussion on screen share next week!
Question: What is your best example of using technology for collaboration in your company?
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