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Unleash Your Team’s Potential with IT Support – Tools for Productive Collaboration

Whether your workforce is office-based, hybrid, or fully remote, collaboration tools have a role to play in fostering maximum productivity. By enabling seamless communication, simplifying file-sharing, and coordinating complex workflows, collaboration tools can help your business deliver the best possible outcomes for its clients.

By choosing the right tools for your business, you’ll equip your team to produce their best work, and through seamless communication, you’ll ensure they avoid those misunderstandings that can be a real drain on productivity.


NetPlatforms – Productivity-Driving IT Support for London and Essex Businesses

Since 2004, NetPlatforms has been helping businesses across London, Essex, and the Home Counties realise their potential through the strategic use of class-leading IT solutions. Recent years have seen renewed focus on the productivity benefits of collaboration tools, driven largely by the rise of remote work. However, while these tools are invaluable for remote workforces, their benefits also extend to office-based teams, giving teams intuitive digital spaces to share ideas, distribute resources, and manage projects.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits collaboration tools can bring to your business and outline 5 types of collaboration tools you should consider before explaining an IT provider’s critical role in supporting your collaboration infrastructure.


The Importance of Collaboration Tools

If you don’t yet use collaboration tools in your business, you may be thinking: ‘why do I need them?’ Here are some of the ways these empowering tools can bring value to your business:


Enhanced Productivity

Collaboration tools let employees communicate, brainstorm, troubleshoot, and organise complex work without having to carry out lengthy, in-person meetings. Instant messaging capabilities, workflow management tools, and video meeting platforms allow staff to communicate seamlessly from any location, supporting flexible work practices and boosting productivity.


A More Engaged and Motivated Workforce

If some of your team work remotely, even on a partial basis, you’ll know that it can be tricky  to keep everyone connected and engaged without the right tools. Communication tools, particularly those that support video meetings, are a great way to foster better remote engagement, ensuring that remote staff identify with your company culture and feel motivated.


Faster Problem Solving

Let’s suppose someone in your team has a complex problem they need help with. The problem is nuanced, difficult to explain, and they’re reliant on email and telephone to communicate the issue to their colleagues. Chances are, they’ll struggle to resolve the problem efficiently, as other members of staff struggle to understand the nature of the problem.

With features like screen sharing, virtual whiteboards, and live chat, collaboration suites like Microsoft Teams can help employees communicate faster and convey issues with greater clarity. This could result in fast problem solving at every level of your business.


Enhanced Data Security

Today’s customers (and indeed, employees) expect businesses to go to great lengths to defend their information against online threats, misuse, and other forms of data loss. Modern collaboration tools come loaded with potent security features like encryption, data loss prevention controls, and multi-factor authentication. This ensures your business can track data across its lifecycle, and apply appropriate access, editing, and download restrictions to maintain data integrity and confidentiality at all times.

Cloud-based collaboration tools give all staff access to a centralised data repository. This keeps information in a single location where it can be securely governed, and avoids higher-risk practices like sharing files using email and flash drives.


4 Types of Collaboration Tools You Should Consider

Most collaboration tools can be defined according to the 4 key functional purposes they serve within an organisation. Most tools help users store resources, coordinate work, communicate ideas, or hold virtual gathering (meetings or conferences), or a combination of all four.


Cloud Document Storage

Cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and Microsoft’s OneDrive and SharePoint provide users with seamless remote access to the file resources they need. Users can share a file without extricating it from its secure cloud storage location, keeping data secure and avoiding document duplication.

Various solutions enable multiple team members to collaborate on the same document in real-time – a feature known as document ‘co-authoring.’ This expedites document revisions, provides a facility for active collaboration, and maintains a single copy of information that everyone in the team can access.


Workflow Management

Workflow management tools – like Microsoft Planner, Asana, and Trello – make it easy to assign work, track progress, and coordinate complex group projects. These tools vary in their scope and capabilities, but all allow team members to view their assigned tasks and visualise their role in the context of a workflow. Managers benefit from greater oversight, with dashboards that flag up approaching or missed deadlines and data that provides granular insights into workflow progress.


Communication Platforms

Communication tools enable employees to stay in touch, share files, and brainstorm ideas seamlessly and in real-time. Instant messaging functionality is often central to such platforms, allowing users to chat informally, share files, integrate their favourite applications, launch polls, and arrange meetings – all within the chat interface.

Moreover, communication platforms are in a state of constant evolution, introducing new and innovative methods for user engagement. This includes features like virtual whiteboards and mind mapping, which facilitate immersive group discussions and collaborative brainstorming sessions.


Virtual Meeting Tools

Virtual meeting tools enable virtual face-to-face interactions, providing a platform for remote get-togethers and collaborative discussions in situations where email and chat features feel too inefficient or impersonal.

These intuitive platforms are often contained within a larger communication suite, enabling seamless integration with chat features, calendars, workflow management tools, and email. This supports streamlined meeting scheduling and makes it easy to conduct a smooth meeting follow-up process.

Other capabilities, like meeting information records, recordings, and transcripts, ensure each meeting provides maximum value by giving attendees resources that they can refer back to and reflect on.


How an IT Provider Supports Your Collaboration Tools

An IT support provider can help you unlock the productivity potential of collaboration tools by providing a number of key management and support functions:

Selection: An IT support provider can help you find the right collaboration platforms for your company, considering factors like scalability, compatibility with existing systems, cost, and functionality.

Integration: Once you’ve chosen a solution, an IT support provider can ensure it works seamlessly within your IT environment. They’ll establish any necessary integrations, resolve any compatibility issues, and ensue that your new system is securely configured in accordance with your business’s data protection needs.

Maintenance: An IT support provider will incorporate your collaboration tools into a wider programme of preventative maintenance to ensure your investment is regularly patched and updated to prevent performance and security issues. They’ll also be able to monitor the performance of your collaboration tools, correct any configuration problems, and swiftly troubleshoot any issues that arise.

User Training and Guidance: Armed with unique insights and the ‘tricks of the trade,’ an IT support provider will help you get the most out of your collaboration tools. They’ll be well versed in assisting businesses like yours in adopting new tools and platforms and will be able to advise on best practices as well as the key features for improving productivity.


NetPlatforms – Value-Adding IT for Businesses Across London, Essex, and The Southeast

Secure, dependable, and fully-optimised IT is a key growth driver in our information age. We help businesses across the Southeast conquer their greatest operational challenges using tailored tech solutions deployed and managed by seasoned IT experts. We help your business harness technology as a growth driver with proactive IT management that minimises downtime and strategic solutions designed to propel your productivity to new heights. Get in touch today to find out more. We’d love to hear from you and help you conquer your persistent tech challenges.

Maximise your teams efficiency with collaborative it support