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If you haven’t looked at integrating work processes, you could be missing out on a huge efficiency booster. Technology is always evolving and improving the way business owners manage their businesses and employees. In-office paging systems have become virtual phone systems, e-mail clients have become full-fledged content management systems, and customer feedback forms have turned into customer relationship management platforms.

Most importantly, these technologies can all be integrated with one another, creating a platform which manages every aspect of your business. It’s now easier than ever to keep your employees and customers on the same page.

Work in a Fully Integrated Environment – From Anywhere!

Using a variety of software programs all integrated into one platform, businesses can create an integrated collaboration environment (ICE). An ICE is an environment in which all employees can work together, whether they’re in the office or not. ICE combines all the best features of web-based software to give businesses a competitive edge. Many of these platforms are Cloud-based, meaning employees can simply log on from their phones, tablets, or laptops. Whether you work with telecommuters or in the office, all businesses can benefit from integrated collaborative systems. Some of the more common features of integrated workplace platforms are:

  • Collaborative software, which organizes daily tasks and boosts productivity. Platforms like inMotion let you manage creative projects for your marketing team. These allow for online project management and proofing and can even automate administrative tasks. Collaborative software is a broad term that encompasses many categories. The platforms can be used for creative tasks, administrative duties, e-mails, and other workplace activities. It boils down to the fact that these platforms keep tasks organized and make it easy for employees to stay in touch.

  • Workflow systems are another component of an ICE. This kind of software automates business processes, like employee log management, KPI reports, scheduling, and other repetitive tasks you’d otherwise have to do manually. Workflow processes like these are integral to measuring the success of your business but can be time-consuming and complex. These systems are incredible for saving time and automating tedious tasks. Workflow management systems are usually feature-rich, so make sure you know which features work best for your business.

  • Content management systems (CMS) integrate social media, e-mails, and other types of content into one easily managed platform. They let you handle your marketing campaigns easily from one place; simply log in, and you have full control over your campaigns. You can upload new blog posts or social media updates, track user behavior, and create targeted campaigns for specific audiences.

How to Find a Collaborative Platform That Works for YOU

What do you look for when building an integrated workplace using collaborative software? First, ask what your business needs are. For example:

  • Do you need to connect multiple users to a conference call?

  • Is video conferencing important to you business, or do you only need voice?

  • Do you need to share documents, slides, or screens during a meeting?

  • Think about e-mail capability and document sharing; would you benefit from e-mail groups, and do you need to share documents in real-time?

  • What about social networking? Is it important that your platform integrates your company Facebook or Twitter?

By considering your business needs and wants, you’ll be able to find a collaborative platform that gives you the right amount of features. You won’t end up getting overwhelmed or paying too much. There are plenty of options, check out this great summary list of online collaboration tools for businesses and budgets of all sizes.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few candidates, you’ll need to compare what each has to offer. For example, look at the costs of each platform. Many options have tiered pricing depending on what elements you need. Next, look at how data is stores. If you want your team to collaborate anywhere at any time, look for central document storage in a Cloud-based system. Lastly, look at what type of customer support the platform provides. Many will have built-in 24/7 tech support, while some may not – meaning you need your own IT guy.

Leveraging Technology to Move Your Business Forward

The world of collaborative technologies is a vast resource that can truly change your business for the better when harnessed correctly. With a virtual phone system like Booth, integrated collaborative software, and back office management platforms, it becomes so much easier to manage your workforce and run your business. Your business operations all happen in one place, meaning you have more time to dedicate to improving your products, boosting productivity, and building stronger customer relationships. And that’s what a successful business is all about.

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Josh Christy

Founder of Booth, passionate about helping to grow businesses that matter.