Being able to collaborate with colleagues online has been essential for businesses to survive during the COVID pandemic. But the truth is, it’s essential to every business, pandemic or not.
As many businesses know, collaboration tools don’t always do what they say on the box; what sounds good on a spec sheet doesn’t always translate to real-world collaboration that everyone finds easy to use.
A 2019 study by Quadrant Strategies found that while 84% of Google Workspace users said they edit documents collaboratively with others during the course of a meeting, only 69% of Office 365 users do.*
Likewise, 95% of Google Workspace users said they found it easy to work with other people in the same document, while Office 365 users were 11% less likely to.
A lot has happened since that study in 2019, of course, including the sudden global shift to remote work.
Google has been iteratively improving Google Workspace as the world has worked online over the last two years. This rapid evolution has been possible because Google Workspace is a cloud-native suite – there are no desktop clients that need to be patched and kept updated.
For example, Google is building Google Meet right into Docs, Sheets and Slides, so by the first half of 2022, every organisation using Google Workspace will have the ability for its users to have a video chat right in a document.
This will allow everyone on the call to see the editable document in full fidelity, rather than having to ‘share screen’ as many of us have had to do in standalone video calling clients.
It makes the document a central work space in the meeting rather than being just a frozen snapshot being projected to the group.
Linear, an Australian global leader in early-stage clinical trials, says Google Workspace has been pivotal to its success.
“Google Workspace has been a fundamental element of Linear’s tech enabled clinical trial service. It has helped us establish a digitally enabled culture, pilot new business models and been part of our adaptive response to the COVID-19 threat that has seen us grow significantly throughout the last 12 months,” explains Jayden Rogers, Chief Executive Officer.
Collaboration that really works
The problem with the old way of ‘collaborating’ – emailing documents between reviewers – is that the next reviewer often hangs on to a document until they think it’s really ready for release to the next reviewer. That’s literally like hitting pause constantly on your collaboration process.
Enterprises end up with multiple copies of documents floating around, with users spending time hunting for the latest version later (or worse, operating on outdated versions which then have to be manually combined later).
Google has always taken a different philosophy: that there should only ever be a single copy of any document that people are working on collaboratively, and the focus should be on sharing it early and collaborating constantly.
The tracked changes and document versioning are all still there – it’s just that the versions are kept within the original document, browsable and restorable at any time.
The concept of only ever having a single copy of any document rather than multiple versions floating around often transforms organisations’ efficiency.
It’s a much more open way of working; the information is out there early and people can work on it collaboratively from the beginning.
Organisations that want true cultural uplift typically move to Google Workspace for its live collaboration capability.
This rapid collaboration is the reason why Woolworths has chosen Google Workspace for its workforce – one of the largest in Australia.
“Changing to a cloud based suite of tools is a key part of our strategy to use technology to promote greater collaboration, productivity and effectiveness. Over the next 12 months we will be rolling out Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Meet to the staff in our national and state offices. This is the first phase of what we hope will be a company-wide transformation of our workplace technology,” the company explains.
Making collaboration part of business process
Once collaboration works well, the workforce will intuitively start wanting to collaborate with customers and business partners. This can benefit both the largest companies and the smallest.
A team at a multinational company can create a virtual showroom to show customers their product range with Google Workspace without a half-million dollar IT project.
A hairdresser can take appointments from customers with no additional software required using Google Workspace Individual. This allows them to easily set up and share appointment booking pages, powered by Google Calendar.
Staff can set up online forms quickly and securely to collect data and work with it easily in their existing, familiar Google Sheets app, along with automatic analysis and graphs. Canva, the Australian online design and publishing platform has found this capability invaluable. Canva uses Google Forms to capture — in what Jeff describes as ‘no-judgement’ fashion — new ideas, callouts of broken processes, or areas of improvement. These comments and suggestions go directly to founders and senior management for action.
Team members who have ideas about how to improve business processes, but don’t have the business case to get an IT project set up can create applications that collect information, process it and provide results to the user, without having to write a line of code.
Collaboration is at the core of every business – but is it at the core of your productivity suite? Once you put that capability in the hands of your team, you’ll find your business can accelerate towards its objectives much more quickly.
Learn more about enabling a true cultural uplift to live collaboration by powering your enterprise with Google Workspace.
* The study was originally conducted in 2019, when Google Workspace was branded “G Suite”