If you’re a project manager or team leader, you’re probably familiar with the term “online collaborative productivity software”. However, you might not have started using this type of software yet. If so, you might not be familiar with the benefits or the challenges it can solve for you and your teams.
If you are familiar with this type of tooling and its benefits, you may want some help deciding which online collaborative productivity software is right for you. If so, then check out our review of all the major software tools and vendors: Best Remote Team Management Software 2024
If you’re looking for more information on what this software is and why do companies use online collaborative productivity software, read on to find out more.
What is online collaborative productivity software?
With more teams working remotely or following a hybrid working model in the wake of Covid, the popularity of collaborative productivity software has skyrocketed. But just because it’s popular doesn’t mean that everyone has gotten around to using it yet or is overly familiar with what it is.
In brief, online collaborative productivity software is software that allows multiple users to collaborate remotely in real time on a project or series of projects. It is hosted in the cloud and accessible to anyone with permission from any location with an internet connection, allowing multiple people to work on the same project at the same time.
This kind of software can take many forms, but the most basic type that most are familiar with from an office environment is something like Google Docs or Google Sheets. These allow you to share your word processor or Excel documents with whom you choose, so they can edit or offer feedback on them at any time.
What key challenges does it solve?
We will explore the many reasons why companies use this software in a moment. But there are several big project management challenges that online collaborative productivity software can solve.
The first big challenge is not having a centralized place for all the information relevant to a project. How often have you worked on projects between teams in different time zones – or even different cities in the same time zone – and data has been lost because people have been sending it via email? one big reason why do companies choose online collaborative productivity software is the option to keep, manage and edit all the document sin one place.
Another big challenge it solves is the need to schedule meetings to check up on simple things. Thanks to the rise in the use of video chat and video meetings post-Covid, we often get caught up in having meetings to discuss the simplest points. Collaborative software often removes the need to do that. As it holds and visualizes important project information for the whole team to see.
Lastly, generating manual reports used to be the bane of most project managers’ existence. In most cases, collaborative software takes away this problem. Firstly, many reports are no longer needed when data is being shared between team members in real time. Secondly, the software often presents data visually anyway and that’s part of what makes it great to use. Thirdly, it makes creating impactful reports easy.
With these three major points addressed, let’s look at what other benefits companies get from using this type of software.
Increased speed, efficiency, and productivity
Online collaborative productivity software allows team members to communicate via instant messaging and to see edits or suggestions in real-time. This cuts out many of the communication delays typically associated with managing complex projects.
By being able to see all edits and suggestions in one place, and having a centralized record of changes, this reduces the risk of time-consuming mistakes as well as the traditional delays. The result of this is a huge increase in productivity and efficiency.
Most collaborative software offers multiple different ways to process and present data. You can set up dashboards for team members, different dashboards for reporting to management, and different dashboards again for presenting to clients or other teams in the company. All using the same datasets.
This allows you to test different ways of presenting data until you find what suits you best. At the same time, the software allows team members to access project documents and data at any time from any device.
Better document management
Because documents are stored in a central location that team members access remotely, this cuts the need to send documents manually by email. It also cuts out the problem of having multiple draft versions of the same documents being emailed around the business, risking the accidental external sharing of sensitive data as well as increasing the risk that team members end up working on different versions of the same document.
With centralized management, there’s no need to send documents. All edits and changes are available to view by all team members in real time. This cuts down on the risk of losing the most up-to-date versions and saves time on sharing drafts and updates.
Many online collaborative software tools feature automation, which reduces human error. But even allowing real-time team access to work in progress makes mistakes and repetition less likely, leading to better accuracy.
Stronger client relationships
With collaborative software, project managers are able to give clients access to their own set of reports and dashboards so they can check on project progress, assess any possible bottlenecks or other issues, and give feedback where appropriate.
Working collaboratively with clients like this can be a great way of building trust and cooperation by increasing transparency.
As already mentioned, collaboration software tends to include the function to generate comprehensive reports easily and quickly, as well as offering real-time dashboards for regular review which reduces the need to produce reports in the first place.
Getting the best out of online collaborative productivity software
We hope you’ve found this a useful introduction to why do companies use online collaborative productivity software and given you some ideas for how you can make this kind of software work for your teams and projects. To find out more, why not look at some more helpful content, such as – Which kind of remote team is yours?
If you liked the look of Teamhood, check out this post – How to use Teamhood for remote teams. Or register for a free account and experience the system for yourself.
Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space.
2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood.
2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.