Our experience with Small and Medium Business owners and managers, highlighted that for many of them collaboration is:
- To have very well-known people ready to take charge of a project
- The ability to quickly put the right people on the right task
- The consequent ability to address issues and advance the business agenda faster than their larger and more bureaucratic competitors
Further small organizations do not often have complicated processes, protocols and technologies to help them coordinate activities and get the job done. And for the most part they are right … until THE RECENT PAST.
In these past few years there have been some developments, on both the competitive and technological front that should make small business executives rethink their strategy, start examining the role of Online Collaboration within the company and analyzing how Online Collaboration can play an important role in accomplishing business objectives.
For instance, thanks to Online Collaboration, nowadays large companies have a behavior more like small businesses, because it has introduced agility and removed obstacles that used to slow down the external and internal communications process, which contributed in the past to the slack moving of the big names. Recent surveys report that consumers and large business customers are increasingly demanding the interaction with them and in a sophisticated manner at any time, over any medium, using any device; and it does not matter if you are a small or a big company, but it’s a MUST to stay on top on these topics.
Clients today, don’t have patience and tolerance for any delay or latency when it comes down to any kind of their transactions with you. You have to bridge the gap between you and what the client wants, putting together quickly your internal and external resources, facing issues and resolve problems. Not doing that, it will easily put at a disadvantage the small company (or any company).
There is an increasing number of small businesses having employees not necessarily local, or at one place at the same time. The teleworking trend, in which people work from home or local coffee shop, are indeed a growing phenomenon is being adopted by many organizations whether small or large companies. This type of flexibility offer several benefits to the company, such as secure talent for less money, and secure talent offering a more dynamic environment than the more rigid working structure present in the large companies.
Technologically speaking today, you don’t compulsory need to be in the office, at least not every day. Cloud allows companies to share files, tracking the file versions and the easy integration among e-mail, voice-mail and multi-media conferencing functions, is now at a very low cost point.
Let’s see what Online Collaboration thanks to multi-media collaboration strategy can address.
Involve in a project more than a single employee, accelerating the pace of interrelation among members and processes.
Solve the availability problem. Not everybody is always available over the same medium. There are many occasions when people cannot talk on the phone, but can text or chat with colleagues or customers to collaborate.
Provide visibility and control over a project, with the consequence of improving the quality of the project itself.
Not everyone is always available at the same time. People can work on different projects, and have different priorities. There are many organizations that do shift work, or employees who must work across different time zones (which a growing number of small businesses must do in today’s global digital economy). In the tech world this is called an “asynchronous” environment and Online Collaboration can give a great help in this matter.
In an asynchronous environment, people access resources at the same time and keeping track of the latest version of a document (any document) can be tricky. Online Collaboration tools, give to all players involved, control over the latest version of that document, having always the most current “version of the truth”.
Manage effectively the expectations of key players involved in an ongoing series of interdependent processes, either you are collaborating with internal players or with partners and clients.
In conclusion today, small businesses are challenged from the large organizations which in many cases are doing things smarter, quicker, better and at lower cost, invading the small business very typical ground, thanks to the adoption of Online Collaboration solutions. It looks almost impossible but the small business which won’t move in this direction, they will stand on shaky ground easily remaining confined into the local market.