Why You Can’t Survive on Sampling Collaboration Tools
If you ask most members of warehouse clubs—Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.—what the best part of shopping is, discount prices will be the first answer. A close second would be the sample stations scattered throughout the store, providing patrons with a variety of ever-rotating snacks to power them through their shopping experience. Free samples are a great way to try bite-sized versions of products to gauge interest. They are not, however, a nutritious or filling meal. Despite this, many shoppers plan on a sample lunch as a substitute for a real meal.
The trend of free samples has entered the business world as companies often cycle through product trials and free barebones versions of collaboration tools, along with other related applications that employees bring into the workplace. The result is a disjointed collaboration experience that will leave your company malnourished and underperforming in the long-run.
Free samples are so tempting
“Free” is a glorious, beautiful word. In the business world, where margins seem to shrink and costs seem to grow annually, the allure of subsisting on free collaboration tools is strong. Applications with free versions and paid features to add later also hold appeal as there’s no looming expiration date approaching. Even with a barebones approach, the free version allows you to get more done than you would have without it, right?
But are free samples what your business needs?
Think of free samples—sometimes we try them simply because they are free, even knowing full well we won’t buy the product. If the same can be said of your collaboration tools, then you may find yourself with a problem on your hands sooner rather than later: why subject your business to sub-par applications that won’t cut it in the long-run? Just because free is tempting doesn’t mean it’s a good choice—for snacking, or more importantly, for your bottom line.
There’s no such thing as a free lunch
“Free” versions might help your business in a pinch on a one-time basis, but eventually you’ll have to pay up. Trials expire. Barebones applications limit functionality and the number of users you can have. And there’s always the chance that the “free” rug could be pulled out from beneath you, bringing collaboration at your business to a screeching halt.
In our increasingly-connected world, putting your business collaboration on a free platform with no contract, no agreement, and no guarantees is a risk. Is it one you’re willing to take?
How do you justify the expense of team collaboration tools?
When your employees have easier access to each other and company resources, productivity rockets upward. Conversely, when collaboration isn’t easy, the cost is time: according to McKinsey&Company, the average employee spends nearly two hours per day tracking down colleagues and looking for information. Technology based on social collaboration alone can save your employees nearly two hours per day. If your employees work a 50-hour work week, two hours a day translates to 10 hours week—or 20 percent of your workers’ time (and wages) lost to collaboration inefficiency.
Another part of team collaboration is the ability to work on projects as a team instead of in a vaccum. Imagine group access to projects with real-time updates, tracking, and information on who last contributed to a document and which changes were made. Imagine the ease of onboarding a new employee with an updated record of everything to-date for projects he or she needs to manage. That’s more time (and money) reclaimed from the inefficiencies of the average business.
The best part? Team collaboration with built-in project management capabilities isn’t a figment of imagination anymore—it’s a reality.
What to look for in a collaboration tool
Every business that wants to compete needs more than a snack to survive. If people in your business need to work together to make business happen, here are a few things to look out for in a balanced business collaboration tool:
- Company-wide chat
- Audio, video and Web conferencing with screen share
- Mobile-first approach
- Access documents and files anywhere
- Ease of use
Something to digest
When you have the right collaboration tool in place for your business, your employees can do more in the same amount of time. When your platform includes project management, you uncover new efficiencies. The investment results in highly productive employees who can work anytime, anywhere. The right tools will fuel your employees to do more with their time and for your business—just like a nutritionally-balanced meal provides better, more consistent energy than a sample lunch.
Hungry for more?
If you’re considering a team collaboration tool that works for your business, check out our-demand webinar, “Introducing the New Era of Communication Technology,” which will help you figure out what you should look for from a communications vendor if you want them to add value to your business. The webinar covers how technology should help you:
- Recover an hour of productivity each day
- Eliminate silos between employees, partners, and vendors
- Better align communications to the way teams work today
- Collaborate in real-time