If you run a business or are in any way involved in the day-to-day operation of one, you will be aware of just how much time can be wasted through needlessly complicated and un-streamlined communication.
The bigger any company becomes, the more people start to have a stake in how that company does and the amount of internal communication increases. This is especially true for businesses that have a number of different departments, clients or areas of expertise.
Fortunately, there are a number of software tools that can save you from being washed out to sea by the level of business communication coming your way on a daily basis.
Image by: The Shopping Sherpa
Whether you need to make your business more efficient or just get a better handle on what is going on from day-to-day, these tools can help.
As project management systems go, this one is definitely one of the easiest to use that I have ever come across. This system lets you organise and manage separate clients and projects, as well as being a place where employees can communicate, collaborate, assign tasks to each other and share documents.
This program is not new on the scene by any means, but it can greatly cut down on the amount of emails that employees of a company send each other over the course of a day. As well as free instant messaging service for internal communications, Skype will let you call phone numbers and has very low rates for international calls.
While perhaps not as intuitive and as easy to grasp straight away as the two programs listed above, Yammer is a favourite among some of the biggest companies in the world like Shell and Lexis Nexis.
Essentially an aggregator of all of the various conversations that occur in your office, Yammer allows you to create groups and networks to allow the people who need to know what each other are doing to quickly be able to talk to each other and see what the other is saying to other employees.
It’s as much for supervision as it is for helping employees do their job.
This one is a little different and may suit those who are more visually minded. Trello is essentially a list management system where you can set up a list of goals and watch as they move from preparation to completion, with anyone who is involved being able to add comments and files to the project as it moves along.
There are many more tools that work along these lines but I have had a lot of experience in interacting with these tools and in my opinion, if you want quick results that are fairly intuitive to get your head around, then these are the ones to go for.
Is Everything Moving Towards Unified Communication?
All of this seems to be moving forward towards what experts are calling ‘unified communication.’ If unified communication sounds like one of those phrases that might get shot at you by a marketing guy at a conference, then don’t worry.
Unified communication simply refers to the real-time delivery to you of a variety of kinds of communication. An example of this is the fact that if you are using Basecamp and Trello, they can both be synced up to your Outlook so you get an email every time something involving you happens. It’s something that companies like Intercall Europe are offering to businesses as a complete package, while larger businesses tend to buy multiple communication tools and link them together in-house.
Unified communications can help you streamline your communications and better optimise your business processes, but you have to think of it not as a new way of communicating. Rather, it is simply way of combining all of the disparate forms of communications you are currently using.
What do you think of my choices and do you think there are better tools available out there?