Effective collaboration is a make-or-break skill in business: According to one recent study, high-performing companies are 3.5 to 5.5 times more likely than their lagging counterparts to emphasize collaboration within performance goals. And it’s easy to understand why: When employees work in silos, they don’t benefit from the knowledge and insights of others. And it’s harder to move a project along when stakeholders aren’t on the same page.
Whether you’re trying to fix a problem, bring a product to market, or achieve some other objective, collaboration between teammates, across business lines, and with external clients and partners can drive better results. Collaboration has indirect benefits as well: creating a sense of ownership and connection between employees that drives morale and engagement.
The challenge is that as corporate structures become more complex and global, with increasingly remote and disparate workforces, collaboration can become difficult. A cloud-based work execution platform can help to ease some of the friction of collaboration; but with numerous options available, finding the best fit can be a task in and of itself.
Here are three crucial features to look for in a work execution platform in order to speed up collaboration and get work done more quickly.
1. Visibility for All
Successful collaboration doesn’t only hinge upon cooperation and communication between teammates who work in the same office – it often means sharing information and perspectives with co-workers who are spread out across branches and locations, or with external partners, vendors, or clients who don’t have access to enterprise networks. As such, it’s crucial that your collaboration platform allow you to easily work and share with stakeholders both within and outside of your organization.
While a cloud-based platform can help to ensure that tools are accessible to all collaborative partners, the pricing model of your plan can also place unwanted restrictions on your ability to work with other users. For example, some tools do not allow you to share or collaborate with non-paid users or may restrict important functionalities if you don’t purchase a license for each and every user on your team. With Smartsheet, any collaborator, whether licensed or not, can view or edit sheets, and is granted full visibility into any report or dashboard that has been shared with them – for free.
2. Intuitive to Use
While this may seem obvious to anyone who has ever worked on a non- user-friendly platform, research proves that when enterprise software seems complex and difficult to use, it increases employees’ mental workload and stress. When that happens, people don’t want to use their productivity tools – no matter how beneficial – and collaboration suffers.
When it comes to collaboration software, simplicity matters. Finding a tool that is intuitive and easy-to-use can mean the difference between successful and failed adoption. Look for features such as clear menus and toolbars that make it easy to perform desired actions or find tools you need, dashboards that clearly show important information at a glance, and familiar functionalities that don’t require extensive training to hit the ground running. Smartsheet is so business-user friendly that anyone can build a dashboard or automate work processes without help from IT.
3. Easy to Deploy
The importance of ease-of-use also applies to your platform’s set-up. If a tool is challenging to deploy or requires extensive IT resources to launch, then it will take longer before you can reap its collaborative benefits. If you’re sharing with external stakeholders and collaborators, too much heavy lifting might prevent them from using your tool at all. According to Forrester, 92 percent of customers say Smartsheet is easy to deploy – meaning there are fewer obstacles standing in the way of effective, efficient collaboration.
Collaboration can all too often mean the difference between success and failure in the enterprise. And while tools can make this crucial business skill easier, the right collaboration platform will further accelerate your business results.