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Bridging the gap between modern collaboration tools and user adoption

Not too long ago limitations in technology meant that for an organisation to be truly collaborative staff had to be in the same physical space, working on a similar schedule. Fast forward just a few years and we find ourselves in a position where — through devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops — users can work from anywhere, and everywhere, at any time and with anyone.

With these advances and the rise of the ‘truly’ flexible, global workforce, you’d think that more organisations would have embraced remote meeting software equally suited to connect them through their devices. However, we often find that critical business functions including board meetings, conference calls and strategy development are left documented on nothing more than notepads and email.

A new survey suggests that when it comes to meetings many executive teams are still using outdated technology and some forgoing it all together. The survey found that 59 percent of senior executives polled still hand write notes during meetings, only to later type them up and hand out to co-workers. Surely, a less-than-optimal notion in today’s evolving digital workplace.

Even more thought provoking is the minuscule two percent of respondents that admitted to using any meeting management software. The majority instead opted for either email or paper to share agendas. While many business users are finding themselves increasing mobile, shouldn’t digital tools be front of the line to enhance productivity?

Online remote meeting technologies can help do just this, allowing users to join in from any location and action tasks from those meetings almost instantly. However, deploying a one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer. In fact, this approach often loops back to the very scenario we started at — users feeling overwhelmed with too many features, requiring more training and time, and eventually falling back to more trusted, tangible methods.

The key to helping users adopt these new technologies is choosing a best-in-class offering that enhances the work you’re already doing, and doesn’t throw in features for features’ sake.

What should you look for in such a tool? Here’s three markers to get you started:

A tool that gets it right, first

You can go one of two ways when it comes to deciding on a collaboration tool: choose something that does everything moderately well, or choose a tool that focuses on one specific need and does it exceptionally. Technologies that are built to be best-in-class, rather than one-size-fits-all, are almost always the tools proactively adopted by end users and consumers. This is because they are fit-for-purpose and truly address the needs of the majority of people.

A tool that’s as easy as tying your shoe laces

Overwhelming, user frustration often originates from tools that are too complex – in the remote meeting space it’s usually a result of too many access codes, confusing features that require training and figuring out if people can see even what you’re sharing on screen. Increase in usage will come from creating the path of least resistance to engage, by removing such roadblocks and implementing an intuitive, streamlined approach. Inevitably, the tool’s success will come from working so well it goes almost unnoticed.

A tool that collaborates with other tools

By accepting the first two requirements, it then stands to reason that there will be plenty of collaboration tools in the market achieving similar best-in-class standards. The ultimate winners not only excellent at what they do, but work seamlessly with other tools that excel, as well. Remote meeting solutions should be no different. The end game will be a federated digital workplace of integrated best-in-class point solutions, rather than a one-size-fits-all compromise.

Moving away from the accepted practices of the previous decade and toward more integrated digital collaborations will not only require a shift in user mind-set, but also the types of technologies we look to lean on. Many of which we’re seeing rise to forefront. Tools that focus on the above will harness productive communication between teams and third parties, not hinder it.

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