As the saying goes, it’s a brave new world. Collaboration with your team members at work is imperative; but changes in the market, reliance on partners and vendors, and customer support have made external collaboration the new normal.
For many companies are still struggling with how to manage these inter-business collaborations, balancing company secrets and proprietary tools against the need for trust, an open flow of information, and quick response times. Recently some best practices have emerged.
Emails Are Collaboration Killers
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines collaborate as “to work jointly with others or together esp. in an intellectual endeavor.” The word “jointly” here means communication and work go more than one direction. Email travels only one way at a time, but it has an insidious way of beckoning you to check it continuously throughout the day, creating a huge time waste.
According to a 2012 report by the McKinsey Global Institute, we spend 28% of our work time checking email. Email has become such a core component of our collective business consciousness, how do we rid ourselves of its grip on our work day? Stop collaborating by lobbing communication volleys across companies, and meet your external collaborators in a shared virtual workspace. You can do this easily using Kintone by creating a guest workspace and inviting collaborators from outside your company – as though they were colleagues. Exchange messages, share files, manage projects and tasks – without checking email or even leaving your workspace.
Collaboration Thrives on Flexibility
A classic nightmare scenario in the business world is accidentally hitting Reply All on an email intended for only one person. Obviously, you don’t want to make that same mistake in a workspace either.
Using your Kintone workspace, you can post comments are share files for everyone, but you can also message directly to one or more individuals to keep conversations, transactions for information private. Set up business processes and workflows, assigning approvers and administrators.
But too many groups and projects in one workspace can still mean too much complexity. That’s why you can create an unlimited number of workspaces, each with different organization, apps, files and collaborators. It’s also why you can create separate threads within each workspace and invite only relevant collaborators to each. In fact, you can add only certain apps and files to each thread to simultaneously enable open collaboration and maintain control.
Every App Should Be Unique
Most software companies provide applications. You use those applications, and hopefully they do what you want. If not, hopefully you can use the API or just get your coder to hack a workaround. The Kintone platform provides applications too. But after that it’s up to you.
The Kintone platform gives you total control. You can build your own apps through multiple methods: Add an app from the Kintone Marketplace, upload a spreadsheet and convert it into an application, or build an application from the ground up with the Kintone formbuilder.
The Kintone Marketplace includes 23 pre-built business applications, and you can add one with just a few keystrokes.
The Spreadsheet Upload Tool enables you to upload a spreadsheet and convert it into an online full-featured application with a click. Enable real-time charts and graphs and other features for better collaboration and greater functionality.
The Kintone formbuilder enables you to build an application and customize it to your heart’s delight. Add fields, rules, processes, anything you like.
In fact, you can use the formbuilder to customize an application no matter how you add it. Then you can preserve different instances of the same basic application.
In other words, you can customize one timesheet application with required checkboxes for regular time and overtime for your employees; and you can customize a second timesheet without the checkboxes for a vendor – and then assign each application to a unique thread.
Mobility Is the New Connection
Email, phone, chat, text, none of it is enough connectivity for today’s business. In a 2013 CGMA survey, 61% of workers plan to take at least three mobile devices with them on vacation. With outside sales, remote workers, people in different time zones, consultants and more, mobile access is more important than ever. Your Kintone workspaces are available through the web and also through mobile apps.
With push notifications and real-time updates, Kintone keep you more than just in touch.
Your partners, vendors and external collaborators are more important to your business than ever. Sending messages back and forth isn’t good enough anymore. If you’re not collaborating, monitoring and managing, you’re losing money. Use the Kintone platform and customize the tools available to create the perfect work environment for all your external collaborations and joint ventures. Visit us now for a free trial.