Unified Office Suites Drive Collaboration for Small Businesses

It’s not uncommon these days: a ping is sent to an employee via a standalone chat app about a project that was created using a third-party tool that houses the relevant file in a separate data repository.

According to data collected by Reclaim.AI at the end of 2021, the number of meetings has increased by 70% since the start of the pandemic. With companies using such a wide range of third-party software to operate, it’s no wonder messages and documents are falling through the cracks. It’s impossible to work together as a team when so many of those team members are just trying to catch up to find the right piece of information across multiple silo systems.

Unified office suites of workplace applications, with an emphasis on online team collaboration functionality, keep all employees aligned through seamless communication and consistent, universal access to data.

Benefits of Unified Office Suites

Eliminate Silos

Basketball players cannot operate as a team if each of the players is working from their own playbook or cannot hear what their coach is yelling from the sidelines. Similarly, a company’s employees will sacrifice collaboration if they can’t easily communicate with each other or make sure they’re viewing the correct, most current version of a spreadsheet.

Consolidating disparate systems, especially when they are fundamentally different from each other, is an arduous task and costs companies hours of productivity, not to mention multiple expensive licensing fees. But a unified set of apps ensures that one update of the system in one location spreads to the rest of the organization.

Zoho Workplace is a great example of how unification leads to seamless online team collaboration. It ensures that everyone has access to every file, item and piece of information that is entered into the system, no matter where they are located and wherever the data is entered. The suite includes email, archiving, document, chat and social capabilities, all within one platform.

The ultimate time saver comes in the form of what companies no longer have to do: search internal systems for the right piece of information. All facets of Zoho Workplace and other unified applications are accessible through a central dashboard that can be customized by any employee by simply dragging and dropping widgets. In addition, the platform offers a unified search function – the tedious process of searching app after app for the most accurate information is not necessary. Emails about a project are just as easy to find from this dashboard as tasks or calendar entries.

Better communication with customers and employees

By consolidating everything under one banner into unified office suites, companies are taking proactive steps to ensure tighter communications while keeping employees access to everything they need to do their jobs — and if not, access can be gained from the same application.

Uniform office suites also do wonders for customer service. Data is in abundance today, and small businesses looking to use these numbers to improve their customer experiences would be wise to ensure that data is accessible and available to be updated no matter where their employee is located. This practice also eliminates all unnecessary communication — the last thing customers want is to be contacted multiple times by different team members, or forced to sign the same terms and conditions twice due to redundancy and overlap in employee responsibilities.

Also consider how the apps are unified. For example, working within Zoho Writer allows employees to tag others in comments, trigger an email alert as a reminder, and include a direct link to the document. This works wonders for flagging important information to be disseminated as soon as possible; navigating to another app, especially one with a non-intuitive interface, opens the process up to errors.

Enable remote working

Zoho believes in a mindset we call “transnational localism,” which emphasizes supporting local communities and hiring candidates from small towns over big cities – a practice that can unwittingly shift the candidate pool to a wealthier class of individuals who can afford to live comfortably in a metropolis, or at least commute to one.

An important facet of transnational localism is the emphasis on smaller, more localized offices that serve as mouthpieces for a metropolitan hub. This not only saves employees time normally spent on a lot of commuting, but also provides remote workers with a hybrid work model and sense of community.

Regardless of where employees work, it’s important that they maintain access to the same broad range of tools available to those who travel to an office every day, especially on mobile devices. A unified system works entirely from the cloud and offers full functionality from every conceivable location.

A unified work environment is helping to correct the mistakes wrought by the pandemic: data collected by Project.co in its first year showed that 26% of participants surveyed claimed that communication, both internally and with customers, had deteriorated in 2021.

Unified office suites may not be a panacea for efficiency and collaboration before the pandemic, but they are a critical step, especially for small businesses. A unified office suite, with all tools tightly integrated, brings simplicity, power and affordability – all critical concerns for businesses in the future.

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This post Unified Office Suites Drive Collaboration for Small Businesses was original published at “https://smallbiztrends.com/2022/07/unified-office-suites-small-business.html”

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