Digital tools have the potential to promote exchange, creativity and efficiency. In order to get the maximum added value out of work, it is necessary to rethink work. We show how digital communication tools can support the work processes in your organization.
From the stagecoach to e-mail
The need to communicate is as old as man himself. It is assumed that our ancestors first began communicating with gestures and sounds about 1.7 million years ago. The means of communication have changed little since then - but the ways of doing so have changed all the more. What was then communicated from homo habilis to homo habilis, with paint on cave walls, later with pen and ink and then on the typewriter, is today communicated via e-mail, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
It is also attributed to the early communication that it became possible to impart knowledge about tool making and thus to advance it. What started with a throwing spear and a stone axe has developed today into the development of new tools such as slack, trello and presono, which prepare the homo digitalis for the modern challenges of the technological age.
The digital transformation of the organization
Especially in the corporate context, digitization brings a revolution in the way people work together. Managers around the world have also understood this. As early as 2017, a study showed that 79% of managers in senior positions consider digital technologies to be one of the most important challenges in the next five years*. Today we are in the midst of digital change and see that 2017 respondents should be more than right.
New Age Tools
The number of communication tools is constantly growing and those who do not belong to the digital natives quickly lose track. Roughly speaking, the digital tools can be divided into two groups according to their usefulness:
This includes all tools and applications dedicated to discussion, information exchange and documentation.
- Collaboration and organization
This is about the structured organization of content as an improved basis for effective collaboration. In particular, this means the clear organization of to-dos and documents as well as the process-based representation of workflows.
How tools in these two categories can concretely support the way of working in your company and what you should consider for an optimal integration into your work processes is explained in the following with three examples.
Slack is a popular digital communication tool and has declared itself to be the "central platform for your team and your work". The goal of this professional chat tool for the corporate environment is to create a central place for efficient collaboration. The way it works supports this goal by providing
- Entertainment organized and structured into individual "channels"
- records a searchable history, thus documenting and making all conversations traceable
- Schnittstellen und Services bietet, mithilfe derer das Tool mit anderen Anwendungen verbunden werden kann
We also use Slack for our own internal corporate communications. Especially because of these advantages, the tool has convinced us:
- SIMPLE & QUICK
The tool is easy to understand and intuitive to use.
- CONTEXTSPECIFIC & TRANSPARENT
Thanks to the organization in channels, the topic and message reference is always clear.
- ASYNCHRON & ARCHIVABLE
Allows time-shifted work and records all conversations.
Slack can be combined with existing workflows and allows integration with other tools and applications.
Trello is a collaboration tool aimed at increasing productivity. It says about itself: "Trello lets you work more collaboratively and get more done. The project management application enables,
- to set up lists on so-called boards that represent workflows
- to create cards that stand for individual tasks and can be moved across lists (i.e. through a work process)
- to share a board with internal and/or external members of the company, for example customers
Trello is also an integral part of our internal work organization. We especially appreciate it for the following reasons:
- SIMPLE & INTUITIVE
the user interface is simple and can be quickly captured.
The clear content structure helps to keep the overview at all times.
- SUPPORTS COOPERATION
The mapping of release processes and team structures makes responsibilities and to-dos transparent and clear for everyone.
- AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE
As a web application, the tool is independent of location, time and platform.
presono is a smart web-based application that opens the door to the future of presentation. It is an organization solution that combines all aspects of presentation:
- Data management and organization in connection with presentations, presentation contents and the presentation itself
- Integration of multimedia and interactive design elements
- New design possibilities
As developers of presono we are biased, but the following advantages have been confirmed by our users:
- SIMPLE & QUICK
The application is self-explanatory and intuitive.
The tool can be connected to existing systems via interfaces for CRM or Digital Asset Management.
- TOP DATA MANAGEMENT
Seamless information management over the entire CV of presentations.
- "COOL" DESIGN
Multimedia, interactive design options without end.
Talked out of the sewing box
We are enthusiastic users of all three tools and experience has taught us that as much or as little efficiency gains can be achieved as desired. The following practical tips can help you maximize the potential for optimization:
- Make the tool as simple as possible and as complex as necessary
The design options of modern tools set no limits to creativity, but also to complexity. Make sure to maintain a good balance between the level of detail in the organization and usability.
- Introduce basic communication guidelines
New tools bring new challenges. For example, if you post a message to a slack channel with ten members, no one might feel obliged to respond. We therefore slack according to the rule of responding to messages within 24 hours - even if only in the form of an emojis.
- Observe the usage behavior in your team
Web-based tools can create the pressure to be constantly available - especially in view of the fact that many applications are also available as apps and as such are often used from private devices. This requires each individual team member to define the limits of working time for himself. Especially non-native users might find this difficult. Therefore, pay attention in the initial phase to the communication behavior in your team and support a healthy use of the technology.
- Do not forget the personal exchange
Anyone who starts working with digital tools quickly realizes that there is hardly anything that cannot be communicated via the tool. But always remember: The medium is the message. The advanced functionality of digital tools makes interpersonal contact no less important. Above all, a "well done!" has a completely different meaning face-to-face than simply lacquered (yes, the enthusiasm about the digital communication possibilities extends to new word creations).
Finally, we are convinced that digital tools are the tool with which we are building a new future. On the one hand, because the enormous efficiency gains free up valuable resources that we can use for the actual content. And on the other hand, because they give us better ways to express ourselves than we have ever had before. Let's make something out of it!
*Source: Québec International 2017