Small business collaboration checklist

Follow our checklist to create a better, more collaborative working environment – without frustration.

Introduction to collaboration

Think about how the way your work has evolved. Chances are it's no longer 9 to 5. And it's not all in one office. On any given day, ten employees might be working in ten different locations. Wearing 5 different hats. Using 3 different devices.

Work today requires collaboration. Employees need to meet. Share files. Present slides. Talk. Share ideas.  

Businesses are seeking stronger employee engagement and customer experiences to enable more productivity and greater business agility. More effective collaboration helps businesses work smarter. You need the right kind of tools to help you get there. 

What are the different types of collaboration technology?

Collaboration technology has come a long way. There are abundant solutions that can help you work more efficiently, and many of them work in the cloud. The main categories are:

  • Meetings
  • Messaging and file sharing
  • Phone systems, including Voice over IP (VoIP)
  • Room devices
  • Headsets

How do I benefit from collaboration?

Seamless communication is absolutely essential to business. Yet when companies try to bring people together, technology sometimes gets in the way. How much time and money are you wasting simply trying to connect and collaborate?

 “It says I need to download an extension.”

“Sorry I’m late. I couldn’t log in.”

“Can everyone see my screen? How about now? Now?”

“Did you get that file? No? Let me email it again.”

Sound familiar? As in every — single — time.

You want communication technology that moves work forward, without frustration.

Some things to look for as you search for collaboration solutions:

Your collaboration technology shouldn’t be the thing that holds you back from success. From meetings to messaging to file sharing to phone, the right tools—integrated across your business—can help drive innovation forward.

1. Meetings and conferencing

Look for a solution that:

  • Doesn’t require downloads or plug-ins
  • Offers “one click” sign-on that lets you get straight to collaborating, from the app or from Microsoft Outlook
  • Allows users to fully participate from browsers, mobile or video room devices – even third-party devices
  • Connects every time with high-quality video
  • Offers easy screen sharing
  • Projects a professional image to external collaborations (such as potential customers!)

2. Messaging and file sharing

Your virtual collaboration space should:

  • Integrate with your meetings solution, so you can keep the collaboration going
  • Enable you to brainstorm quickly on a digital whiteboard
  • Offer secure exchange of messages and files, across devices
  • Let you easily search the space to find conversations and documents
  • Allow you to privately message one person or create a group chat in seconds

3. On-premises huddle spaces and small conference rooms

Look for solutions that:

  • Turn any screen into a wireless content sharing device
  • Give you a superior audio and video experience and wireless sharing – turning any small space into a full-featured conferencing resource
  • Are easy to use, cutting down on employee frustration

4. Phones (yes, phones are still a thing)

Look for a solution that:

  • Is completely cloud managed and intuitive — no IT pros needed
  • Integrates with your other solutions, allowing contact lists and call histories to be synced across devices
  • Allows you to choose the plan you want, select the hardware, and preconfigure the solution
  • Is easy to manage and personalize
  • Provides pay-as-you-go service

5. Don’t forget your infrastructure

We know. Technology platforms — bo-ring. But, seriously, none of these other cool things do what they should unless you have the right infrastructure in place.

Make sure you consider a solution that can provide:

  • Reliable, highly secure communications infrastructure
  • Consistent experience across any device
  • Flexible deployment models (on-premises, cloud, and hybrid)

How to get started

We’re living in an always-on, 24-hour-a-day world, and you need to move fast and efficiently. Respond quickly with our office communication solutions designed for businesses of all sizes. 

When you’re ready to simplify your collaboration tools, a Cisco specialist can help. Get in touch with an advisor that can help with your collaboration needs.

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