Adoption is spreading throughout the UK of cloud-based services that provide online platforms to help businesses and other organisations with their project management, communications, and teamwork.
In particular, services that offer an online workspace for collaborative tasks and projects are proving extremely beneficial to British companies, with many SMEs experiencing clear and far-reaching benefits.
Rather than communicating via email, team members log into their company or project workspace, where they interact and carry out all their essential tasks and responsibilities, upload and store files, and continue to develop projects until the point of their closure.
But for many companies, the prospect of ditching their deeply ingrained practices and infrastructures for an entirely new way of doing things is a daunting prospect. This is a missed opportunity – the benefits of web-based project management tools can be profound for an organisation seeking to challenge in a competitive business environment.
Here we discuss some of the main barriers to collaboration and project management adoption by UK businesses:
- One of the first barriers that business owners confront is the anticipated investment required to shift away from traditional manual methods of office work; complex technical systems will have to be installed, staff training conceptualised, organised and put into practice. But with a web-based service, all that is needed is access to an internet browser. The best platforms are so simple and user-friendly that no training is required, and the price of the service – depending on the service provider – doesn’t have to be expensive.
- The second major barrier to adoption of a cloud-based service is that of security. This is a natural concern for any business owner, yet unless original documents are to be placed in a safe and buried in the ground, a high-quality cloud-based service offers the best security available for an organisation’s sensitive information. A complex infrastructure of safeguards is offered by quality service providers that far exceeds the security levels that most in-house technical setups could provide.
- Another concern of adopting collaboration software is that employees will reject a new set of practices. In actual fact, though, the immediacy and practicality of communicating and file sharing within an online workspace is so compelling that there is rarely any significant negative feedback from office workers. Employees will often experience a calmer and more efficient working environment, they may have the opportunity to work more flexibly, while business leaders can expect to see improved productivity.
- The last of the most common barriers to adoption of web-based software for collaboration is a lack of confidence in its value. Why seriously consider any shift in methods or procurement of services without a concrete understanding of what those services truly offer? If there are lingering doubts about how effective an online workspace really is for communication, why bother introducing it to a team that is already up and running and functioning well? What are the far-reaching benefits of the suite of project management tools that such online platforms offer?
Online workspace conversations are threaded and visible to the whole team, which means that there are no endless email chains that exclude relevant team members or conceal key information. Meanwhile, pushing towards a paperless office by instead employing a cloud-based service is a huge money saver. As well as the savings on paper-related expenses, the trappings of a costly IT department can be avoided. Also, the potential for remote teams means that companies can become a far more attractive proposition to talented staff that no longer have to commute to the office. And beyond the immediate economic benefits of online project management tools, the improvement to efficiency and productivity allows business leaders to focus more on strategy rather than micro-managing teams and their projects.
Legitimate and understandable many of these common concerns may be, but there is little doubt to the effectiveness of contemporary solutions as provided by thoughtfully designed online workspaces for better collaboration, project management and business efficiency.