In a desperate rush to structure product or service-related conversations and get things done faster, more and more companies are turning to enterprise collaboration tools.

However, many companies rush to implement collaboration tools without considering many important aspects and without knowing their goal for doing so. The majority of businesses who have been successful with collaboration tool have all known what they wanted to achieve, and what problems they needed to solve.

According to a case study conducted by IBM, Ricoh, producers of a wide variety of electronic products and services, wanted to improve the quality and breadth of its offerings, and provide total solutions tailored to each customer’s environment and operations. Hence, they decided to implement IBM’s SmartCloud Engage platform for cloud-based social business in a pilot program to enhance productivity and innovation in its Business Development Center. As a result, they were able to increase efficiency, create a virtual knowledge and support community, and more importantly, generate new ideas with lateral communication on a global scale. You can read the whole case study here.

LifeLearn started looking into the use of collaboration solutions because they “needed to have tight communications, not lose things, and be able to know exactly what the other people needed.” Hence, they implemented our product, OneDesk. This case study is available here.

How to use enterprise collaboration tools effectively

Here are 4 tips your enterprise can use to ensure effective use of collaboration tools.

Identify the problem you hope to solve
Is it to facilitate inter-office communication? Customer interaction? World wide discussions? Depending on your objective, some tools may be better suited for you.

Be prepared to train your team
Set time aside to walk your team through using the tools, and be prepared to re-train if needed. Some providers offer training, which may be best if the tools are robust.

Having a single tool helps
Some companies choose to implement one tool for internal collaboration, and one for external collaboration. Depending on how big your community is, you might want to consider implementing one single tool to make things easier.

Consider time zones / communication barriers
If you need to collaborate with team members who are on the other side of the world, instant-messaging might not be the most effective solution. Instead, a tool that acts as a knowledge base and keep a history of all input is recommended. Companies also need to be aware of communication barriers. Team members from other parts of the world may have a different way or working and communicating things.

Related blog posts:
Collaboration software: Why are they popular?
Collaborate on Issues and Tasks
Get collaborative in seconds

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