Collaborative platform: everything you need to know and its advantages
A collaborative platform is a digital workspace on which team members collaborate and communicate simultaneously. Learn everything about this new competitiveness factor for your company.
1.What is a collaborative platform?
A collaborative platform is a digital workspace on which teams are brought together, collaborate, and communicate in real-time. It combines various features for working efficiently as a team and remotely: instant messaging, video conferencing, project management, shared calendars, shared and collaborative document editing, etc. Teams are thus connected on different devices, computers, tablets, or smartphones.
Do not confuse a collaborative platform with a collaborative tool: the former centralizes different key features while the latter has a primary function. For example, Trello focuses on project management, Slack on communication, Miro on exchanges through an interactive whiteboard...
Therefore, a collaborative platform has an "all-in-one" aim because it brings together several tools in one place. Here are some examples of features:
- With instant messaging, teams can discuss in real-time, which is more fluid and faster than email exchanges. With just one click, they can also exchange live through video conferencing.
- Document storage and sharing allow teams to find all the resources they need in one tool. Information is not lost. With collaborative editing, teams can collaborate simultaneously and move forward together in their missions.
- Thanks to integrated project management in some tools, teams can create tasks, assign them, and set deadlines. Everyone knows the tasks in progress and those to come.
- Finally, shared calendars are a very popular feature on collaborative platforms. It becomes easier to schedule meetings, whether recurring or not, and team organization is simplified.
2. What are the advantages of a collaborative platform in my company?
All-in-one collaborative software has many benefits for your company.
One account, one application: Simplified teamwork
Stop juggling between multiple tools. With an all-in-one collaborative software, everything is in one digital space. No need to create accounts on different tools, have multiple tabs opened at the same time, or download software. Your daily routine is simplified.
Time and cost savings
A collaborative solution saves time for teams who have all the resources to work in one place. It becomes faster to find information. In addition to being a time saver, an all-in-one tool limits your company's expenses. You no longer need to pay for multiple solutions since one is enough.
The well-being of your teams in-person and remote
Collaborating on an all-in-one space improves team performance and can reduce stress because all data is easily accessible and transmitted. It is a real source of motivation because working conditions are improved. For remote teams, this solution is effective in bringing employees together in a virtual workspace. Information is exchanged, and everyone knows what to work on. It is also an effective solution to reduce social isolation because teams are connected during working hours.
The employee experience is therefore improved thanks to a more ergonomic and agile way of working.
And many other benefits as well! Discover our top 10 reasons to use a collaborative tool in our article.
3. How to choose a collaborative platform?
As you may have understood, a collaborative workspace has many benefits for your business. But how do you choose THE solution that will meet your needs?
First of all, it is important to know that there are different types of platforms. Some are more focused on internal communication, others on project management or shared calendars. Others are complete all-in-one tools that bring together all the features your teams need.
To find the tool that meets your needs, take the time to list your problems and needs in a few steps.
- Detail the context of your company
- Target the problems and their consequences that your company encounters. Also do this on a smaller scale, department by department. For example, your company or certain teams have difficulties related to remote teamwork, communication between collaborators at all levels of the structure, the need to simplify the organization and functions of the company, etc.
- Identify the needs of your company or teams based on the difficulties encountered. What type of tools should be implemented in the company? What are the features that will improve your teams' daily lives? Ask yourself the right questions. Do a benchmark of the solutions that meet your needs. Analyze the offers using criteria to evaluate the different solutions found. Note your satisfaction from 1 - Unsatisfactory to 5 - Very satisfactory for each of these criteria. For example: data security, features, range of offers, prices, customer support, support in implementing the tool...
4. Who is concerned with the implementation of a collaborative platform?
Whether you are a small, medium or large team, working remotely or on site, a collaborative platform improves teamwork.
These software are not only used internally. They are also useful for collaborating with external service providers, subcontractors or clients. Some tools offer different user roles to customize the configuration of your digital workspace. You can therefore use it internally but also externally to bring together your teams with your external collaborators.
5. How to implement a collaborative tool within my company?
The implementation of a collaborative platform involves support from the R&D or HR department. This digital transition will be successful by following the following steps:
- Develop a list of problems encountered and the needs of your company as explained above.
- Establish a communication plan. Share the issues the company is facing and explain the reasons for implementing a tool: objectives, usefulness, individual and collective benefits and opportunities...
- Consider a gradual deployment to smaller teams or teams requiring a more basic tool setup. This allows you to quickly test the basic features of the tool and have minimal impact on your production. Also, train employees to increase efficiency. The handling of the tool must be quick, and adoption is crucial for teams to be effective as quickly as possible. Some collaborative softwares have elaborate customer support that indicates the steps to follow, from registration to using all features.
- Ensure a good employee experience. Anticipate employee reactions. Some will be engaged and involved in the implementation of the tool, while others may be passive or disinterested. It is essential to involve everyone in this digital transition. To do this, identify the "champions", i.e., engaged people who will defend the tool and help employees to embrace its implementation.
Discover our article that will give you all the keys to effectively set up your collaborative tool.
One of the questions to ask is : how long it takes to implement a collaborative platform in my company ?
Some tools with easy onboarding and good support can be set up in a few days. However, more complex tools without support may take 2 to 3 months to become operational.
6. Should you opt for a solution to install or access via the browser?
Collaborative solutions can be available in three ways:
- To install on your own server
- To install on a computer
- To use directly in the browser
Choosing one or the other of these solutions is not insignificant.
Installing a tool directly on your server already implies having a web server available, which has a cost more or less high depending on its performance. This also requires many technical skills and knowledge.
Installing software on your computer is less tedious and sometimes allows you to access the solution in "offline" mode. However, depending on how it works, the solution may store files on your computer. Therefore, you will need to make sure not to overload your computer and to set up a backup system. Similarly, installation also means updating. Indeed, to take advantage of the latest features and bug fixes, frequent updates will need to be made. Otherwise, the solution will become obsolete or even unusable after a certain time, not to mention potential security issues.
On this side, choosing a solution accessible via a web browser seems to be the best choice. The only downside is that it is necessary to have permanent internet access to use it. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be in a place without any network access.
A solution accessible via a web browser avoids all the technical problems of installation, server maintenance, and software updates. Similarly, all data is stored in the cloud and most often duplicated on several servers automatically.
7. How much does a collaborative platform cost?
Offers and prices vary depending on the type of collaborative platform, billing mode (monthly or yearly), by package, by user license, depending on usage, features... To avoid any unpleasant surprises, plan and anticipate the number of users for whom you will need to subscribe to a subscription. Some tools will easily adapt to the growth of your company by simplifying the addition or removal of users.
To give you an idea, some tools offer entry-level offers starting at 3 or 4$ per user per month.
In conclusion? A collaborative platform is a digital workspace on which small, medium, and large teams are brought together and connected. They collaborate and communicate in real-time thanks to different features. By following the steps of listing your issues and needs and supporting your teams, this type of tool will offer you many advantages, in person or remotely, internally or externally.
At Atolia, we are in the best position to tell you: we use our own tool internally and externally to collaborate and make progress in our projects. And we have never been as efficient as today! It's up to you to judge by trying Atolia for free for 14 days. 😉