How to free up time for meaningful work by unifying multiple communication tools
We live in a time where it has never been easier to communicate with each other, however, the myriad of software solutions and devices available can make it almost impossible to do so.
Beyond anecdotal evidence of everyone ‘drowning’, the data also paints a telling picture of the time individuals spend handling emails, searching for information and managing communications.
According to Harvard Business Review, professionals spend at least 28% of the workday reading and answering emails instead of performing meaningful tasks. Combine this with real-life utilisation rates which won’t always be at peak, lunch breaks and everyday meetings – something’s got to give, unfortunately it will likely be your customer experience and your team’s sanity.
This article looks at:
- What does communication look like for growing businesses?
- What should communication look like for growing businesses?
- What is communication management software?
- When is the right time to implement a communication management software?
What does communication look like for growing businesses?
Well, it depends on the business. But we’d wager that in the majority of growing businesses that communication is constant, ‘fine’ but bitty, a little frustrating, and increasingly more difficult as you grow.
Whilst the advancement of online project and communication tools are facilitating the way in which teams work together in a hybrid world, at times it is equally as hindering.
This is driven by the fact that each new tool (usually introduced with the intention of simplifying things) is normally added to the list of current tools, as opposed to replacing or combining existing solutions.
So, for your team, customers, and partners, this means more places to manage more things, leaving less time to focus on value-add tasks. Beyond that, it creates to more room for things to, at best, be carried out invisibly, or more realistically, be missed entirely.
This is often multiplied in the context of a growing or scaling business, where ‘progress over perfection’ is commonly an unofficial motto. You can quickly end up in a situation where good staff with great work ethics and commitment to your company become fatigued and disillusioned by relentless monotonous messages, information overload, and never being able to lift their head or celebrate their achievements.
Sound familiar? If you’re reading this, we’re sure the below will resonate:
‘I hope this email finds you well.’
(Thanks, but it doesn’t - mainly because this is at least the 20th email today hoping the same thing).
‘I sent you this in Slack, but I’m attaching it here as well just to make sure you’ve got it.’ (Great – more attachments in more places, always helpful)
Or the classic…
‘I know you’ve sent me this before, but can you just send it again – I can’t see it in my inbox or SharePoint’
(Ideal, I was looking for something to do with my limited time and attention).
Ok, so we understand how things are at the moment, believe us, we’ve all been there. At Workiro, we’re all about solutions and improvement, so let’s look at what it should be like and how to achieve that.
What should communication management look like for growing businesses?
In short, it should be almost the exact opposite of the situations highlighted in the previous section.
Your team should be able to, with little effort, from any device anywhere in the world, quickly and easily access the messages, conversations and documents they need to do their job, without unnecessarily disrupting colleagues, customers, or partners.
Easier said than done, you say? Well, yes, but far from impossible and the first step to achieving may well be understanding, and possibly changing your perspective on, the kind of tool(s) you need.
The issue instead lies in the gaps between not only the software solutions you use to manage those functions, but your other core business solutions as well (Finance, HR, Project Management, Website etc.).
So, when looking to empower your team to move fast and scale your business, you shouldn’t be looking to remove the tools they need to perform, nor should you add to them for the sake of it.
Instead, you should look for a solution which brings each individual thread into one place and gives you the best of both worlds – efficiency at the point of ‘doing’ and complete visibility for everyone else with no additional effort. A communication management tool.
What is Communication Management Software?
Communication management software is a tool, or suite of tools, which have been developed specifically to improve communication throughout your business by providing a centralised view of all of your communications from different software and channels.
Whilst it may also include certain functionality to facilitate communication, its purpose is normally more focused on plugging the gaps between the various communication tools you use (email, chat, documents) and your other core business management software.
In the case of our own Workiro app, it has been developed as a central point to provide users with:
- Progressive document management which is driven by drag & drop, auto-attaching, in-document chat, and a simple tagging convention to remove bottomless folder structures and complex naming conventions.
- Instant messaging which can operate as a standalone solution in our app or integrate in-record into some of the most commonly used business management software including NetSuite and SalesForce.
- Email integration to provide users with a simple ‘click-to-file’ add-in, meaning they can easily get emails and attachments out of their inbox and visible for other stakeholders.
- Simple and secure e-Signatures whether you’re working on a brand-new document in Microsoft Word, an existing PDF or an order, invoice or contract template from another system you can easily apply signatures, request signatures, and carry out the entire discussion via the app or email and have everything automatically stored centrally against the thread.
When is the Right Time to Implement a Communication Management Software?
The optimum time to implement communication management software, like with almost all business management solutions, is normally as early on in your journey as possible when you can afford both the cash and the time to ensure you pick the right tool and achieve successful user adoption.
In our experience, as soon as you have more than two tools which are not connected with each other being used to speak with more than two clients, you will start to notice the frustrating behaviours we alluded to in the first section creeping in. The trick is to recognise the signs, speak with your team to understand what is happening in their world and then look towards the solution which will provide the most impact with the least disruption.
Workiro is a next-generation enterprise content management solution which allows users to control all their communications, documents, chats, signatures and approvals in one simple, secure app.
Want to see how Workiro could transform your business?