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Collaboration software is nothing new, yet a recent survey by Bitrix24 reveals that most companies working with collaborative tools have used them for less than two years. What’s more, only 22% of the users surveyed said that all employees in their company were using the same collaboration software.

In the age of BYOD (bring you own device), companies are far more likely to offer employees their technology of choice, be it operating system or physical device. However, if employees are using multiple software solutions in an move to work together more efficiently, it’s less a question of choice and more a chance of minor chaos. It’s also self-defeating in terms of efficiency, and far more difficult to monitor both activity and results.

So, why do companies end up with a cocktail of solutions when the ultimate aim is to improve communication and collaboration? The Bitrix24 survey has some interesting pointers towards possible root causes:

Small teams

According to the survey, most users of collaborative tools work in small teams of less than 10 people. So it is likely that the choice and adoption of a collaborative tool is at a departmental rather than company-wide level. This may result in teams choosing a solution that is convenient, available and (possibly) affordable for them, rather than its suitability for the business as a whole.

Few remote workers

Collaboration solutions are particularly essential for connecting co-workers who are not office-based, or whose role takes them out of the office for extended periods of time. However, if a company only has a few remote workers, the choice of collaborative working tools may be driven more by the needs of desk-based employees rather than looking at the whole mobile picture. The survey showed that almost half of users access collaboration tools in any location where there is internet access, and one third of users access their collaboration tools from both work and home.

Price point

This one may be the clincher. 33% of those surveyed chose their collaboration software solution *because it was free*. What other essential business tool would be chosen on this basis? There are some useful and inspiring collaboration tools out there, but the free versions are usually lightweight and limited in scope until you start paying for the upgrade features. There is also the issue of data security, and the long-term sustainability of a no-fee/free solution.

The right tool(s) for the job

Collaborative working has many benefits, but it is a methodology, not a goal. The goal is the actual project all the users are working on together. So, any collaborative software should be able to track and monitor the progress of a project, and assess its overall effectiveness once completed. Otherwise, as a business owner, you’ll never really know the role played by the software tool in creating better working practices. or if it contributed to more efficient co-operation and co-creation.

Equally, very few teams stay static. As one project finishes and another begins, team members may change, as new knowledge or expertise is required. If each new team member has to learn a new collaboration app or system, it’s wasting valuable time and energy better spent on the project itself.

Company-wide collaboration

It makes sense to adopt a company-wide solution to collaborative working that offer a holistic viewpoint. This will enable teams to come together to work in smaller groups, and also be able to draw on the whole company’s wealth of individual experiences when required. All contributed knowledge and resources should be available for future projects, not tucked away in a team software silo. Most of all, a transparent and well-managed approach can generate and sustain enthusiasm for various projects that other employees may be interested in, even if they are not directly involved.

And, of course, if all that is available through one single app that is secure, easy to access, simple to use, and cloud-based, life becomes much easier for all involved.

Company communication and collaboration with TalkFreely

TalkFreely is our platform that powers all our collaborative working apps, tailor-made to suit your company’s requirements both now and into the future. All our apps are fully customisable, available on any device, and with the level of professional features you need, such as detailed reporting, user groups, innovation management, and transparency from first idea to final delivery – if you want that.

We’ll say it now; TalkFreely is not free, and never will be. It is a professional, comprehensive, affordable communication and collaboration solution for every employee in your company, not just a chosen few. It is fully supported by our UK-based team, who constantly develop new features and delivered improved functionality. It’s also fully scalable from SME to global brand level, and with data hosted on our own servers, remarkably secure. As the shampoo adverts say, when it comes to this level of collaborative software, your company is worth it.

Discover more about our apps here, or call us on +44 (0) 1730 207 150 to discuss your requirements.