The benefits of a collaborative platform to the company
Teamwork is now standard practice in the smooth running of any business. Projects are increasingly cross-functional and collaborative working is now a key aspect to project management. However, the same pitfalls remain - too much time spent in meetings, too many email discussions, and too much work to be done. Projects struggle to progress, delays are inevitable and budgets are overshot.
The time is ripe for corporate digital transformation, and employees should now be given the tools to match their potential, in the form of a genuine company collaborative platform.
What is a collaborative platform?
A collaborative platform is a virtual workspace where resources and tools are centralized with the aim of facilitating communication and personal interaction in corporate project work. This naturally means providing access to information, but also and importantly, encouraging collaboration in project tracking directly via the platform about:
- Project updates, monitoring and management;
- Document sharing (spreadsheets, presentations, text files, etc.);
- Exchanging information and communication about initiatives in progress.
The aim of a collaborative platform is to enable staff to work better together by simplifying their project monitoring tasks and delivering efficiency gains. Such a platform is an innovative solution for businesses seeking productivity, financial savings and enhanced employee well-being.
Different types of platform exist, depending on the type of project concerned. Some solutions will adapt themselves to all projects, while others require some customization. In any event, it is advisable to choose the solution that meets your main objectives in terms of collaboration:
Why install a collaborative platform?
First and foremost, a collaborative platform saves your employees time. In fact, business processes are found to be increasingly complex, projects and objectives increasingly numerous, and the tools used by employees increasingly diverse. If this fragmentation may sometimes mean agility is regained, it can also mean a loss of efficiency and, importantly, overall consistency in terms of management.
The use of a collaborative platform consequently offers users the possibility of working in ideal conditions by centralizing all the information staff need in a single place and by simplifying day-to-day tasks - reporting, updates, sending or receiving information by email, etc.
Such a platform thus offers four main benefits:
1Employees’ energy is once more applied to value creation
If you have already experienced the difficulties encountered by using Microsoft Project or Excel for project management, then you will understand the benefits of giving employees more straightforward and accessible tools so they can devote their energy to work that truly creates value. Too many organizations are still causing their employees to waste time hunting down information so they can update project monitoring in archaic PM systems.
2Improved communication about projects
Project-related communication is a matter of both the information that managers wish to share (objectives, directives, schedule, project progress, and so on) and the information that staff need to accomplish their day-to-day tasks. Centralization using a collaborative platform makes it possible to provide the right amount of the right information at the right time, such as notifications about given project(s) that are only displayed to the relevant individual(s).
3Knowledge recycling is boosted
This aspect is far from insignificant and yet is under-exploited in businesses, often owing to a shortage of time. A collaborative platform can gradually become a genuine in-house knowledge base. Instead of reinventing the wheel for each new project, employees can capitalize on previous experience and expertise. This constitutes a genuine advantage and delivers further time and energy savings.
4Ideas are generated and development of innovation is nurtured.
For businesses wishing to encourage participative innovation, a collaborative platform is not merely a plus, it is essential. Besides setting down the scope for innovation (subjects about which ideas are welcomed, the methods used to analyze and select ideas collected, etc.), it makes it possible for employees to enhance other people’s suggestions, and monitor the development of ideas into initiatives, to the point they become practical projects.
De-compartmentalize your organization and fully integrate the people component within your project portfolios to give your employees fresh impetus. Download our ebook on collaborative project management to find out how:
Choosing a collaborative platform
It is worth reiterating that the prime function of a collaborative platform is to replace the disparate range of systems used, to facilitate employees’ work. It is not an additional system. This is a fundamental aspect of the exercise and should be borne in mind when considering the choice of a solution. It will enable the useful functionalities to be properly determined, and result in the selection of a well-designed system adapted to its end users' needs, ensuring the platform is accepted and the deployment successful.
To select the most appropriate solution, the following steps will help you to align your objectives with the user scope identified, resulting in a fully-informed choice:
- Set the objectives to be reached using the platform: this first stage will help to determine the requirements of the business, formally setting the expected results and the metrics by which they can be measured.
- Determine the scope of the platform’s use in the business: will it be used for project management, or to establish a knowledge base, or to encourage collaborative innovation? This ensures the focus remains fixed on objectives...
- Anticipate change management by concentrating on the benefits to users and the time they will save to ensure their buy-in and future engagement with the new system.
- Identify the project sponsors who will lead the process: these individuals must lead by example, serve as process experts, and build the will and motivation needed for success.
- Lastly, check that using the platform matches corporate culture. Although collaborative platforms are very on-trend, it must be ensured that the corporate culture suits more openness and agility.
Once these points have been identified, you will be better prepared to select from the various platforms on the market and, importantly, confirm the functionalities matching your requirements.
Priority functionalities for a collaborative platform
Many solutions are available, some all-purpose and some more specialized, which accordingly have specific functionalities to match the objectives sought.
Here are the key features of a collaborative platform, which can be adapted to all needs:
- Accessibility: the platform must be accessible from any workstation or device (mobility, cross-platform) at any time by any member of staff. This means that your employees can have any documents and working tools whenever they need them.
- Intuitive, straightforward and user-friendly: if you want employees to accept the solution and use it willingly, then over and above the time saved and efficiency gains, they must be offered a well-designed, easy-to-use platform requiring little training.
- Content search: to make finding a document, information, a project or an archive as easy and fast as possible.
- Comprehensive project monitoring: regardless of the use made of the platform, one that can be used to monitor projects from A to Z, from the initial idea to completion, is to be preferred.
- Overview: select a platform that provides you with a birds’ eye view, decision-making support features, accurate and relevant KPIs, and a consolidated overview.