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Future of Collaboration in the Workplace

4 Mins read

The workplace has changed—seemingly forever. Global consulting giant Frost & Sullivan says the “future workplace is nimble, borderless, and distributed.” Businesses of all sizes are deciding what type of workplace is best for them—in-office, entirely virtual or remote, or a hybrid work environment. Businesses of any size can hire employees anywhere in the world.

Collaboration Tech is the “Glue”

But that flexibility is not without complications. Businesses now have employees working together but thousands of miles apart, which can slow productivity and impact company morale. Companies need solutions to bring distributed workers together; fortunately, technology has the answer. Frost & Sullivan says, “Collaboration technologies [are] the glue that brings together remote and on-site teams.”

Frost & Sullivan recently surveyed global IT decision-makers and discovered:

  • Group chat and video conferencing are the linchpins of collaboration. Post-pandemic video meeting usage has grown by more than 350% compared to pre-pandemic.
  • Dispersed teams translate into more video meetings.
  • Post-pandemic, video conferencing was the number two priority (cloud migration is first) for IT.

Frost & Sullivan says that given the widespread adoption of remote work, “business leaders need to quickly plan and implement a new model that allows unprecedented connectivity and interactions across remote, in-office, and hybrid work.”

However, many companies now have “a plethora of communication tools,” leading to a “greater need to connect multiple solutions that aren’t always compatible.” Businesses need to find simple and effective solutions.

Collaboration Solutions for SMBs

Luckily, Zoho Corporation, a leading global technology company, recently updated its collaboration platform, providing businesses with the answers they need. Now, SMBs have access to core collaboration tools offering new artificial intelligence (AI) and workflow automation capabilities. Plus, there are industry-specific solutions for those in the construction, aviation, healthcare, and manufacturing fields.

Zoho says that “together, these developments promote unified project management and support productive asynchronous collaboration for businesses whose employees, customers, and partners operate on different timetables.”

That’s exactly what businesses need. Robert Arnold, an Industry Director and Program Manager for Frost & Sullivan, says that according to their research, “Over 62% of [businesses] are challenged to manage and integrate multi-vendor solutions, and 66% struggle to align IT, communications, and collaboration investments with business strategies.”

Raju Vegesna, Zoho’s Chief Evangelist, explains Zoho’s new offerings. He says, “Companies today are working on multiple devices and networks, in and out of the office, in varying time zones, making collaboration extremely difficult and time-consuming to manage. We’ve developed a tightly integrated set of collaboration tools powered by platform-layer services like AI, unified search, and process automation underneath—all to help businesses be more productive. When people work well together, regardless of their time zone, network, or device, and never once consider the technology driving that work, we feel we’ve done our job.”

Frost & Sullivan’s Arnold agrees that Zoho’s latest developments “further enable seamless workflow collaboration, which drives better user experiences, productivity, and process efficiencies.”

Overview of 4 Core Collaboration Tools

Four core collaboration tools—Zoho ProjectsZoho NotebookZoho WorkDrive, and Zoho Sign—now have new capabilities. Zoho says these new developments will “drive better outcomes for businesses by addressing three critical engines of seamless collaboration and productivity: AI, automation, and industry customization.”

Let’s take a look at each tool.

Zoho Projects

Zoho’s project management platform has introduced Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities powered by Zia, Zoho’s in-house AI engine. Using conversational voice commands, you and your employees can now use Zoho’s search engine to source information stored across Zoho’s apps, significantly reducing the time spent extracting contextual information.

For instance, you can ask Zia to summarize custom charts and analytics dashboards within Zoho Projects to generate task recommendations.

Zoho Notebook

This tool, a dynamic note-taking app, now has added AI power. Zia can enable smart summarization, task management, automatically tag topics, perform data analysis and create charts from notes, and produce a calendar for any next steps.

Zoho Notebook can even interpret and tweak message tone and insert proper context so that the information can be quickly acted upon. The tool is closely integrated with Zoho Projects and WorkDrive, empowering users to take notes, share, and collaborate with their peers effortlessly. Using the new feature Whiteboard, users can participate in real-time brainstorming sessions by easily embedding audio or video meetings within the application.

New Workflow Automation Capabilities

Users can now access Blueprint, Zoho’s visual workflow automation technology within Zoho Projects, WorkDrive, and Sign. Blueprint enables users to build scalable, repeatable, and easy-to-follow project workflows.

For example, the technology allows users to review shared documents, analyze specific data to ensure accuracy, maximize employees’ productivity, and facilitate quicker onboarding for new employees learning the process.

Zoho WorkDrive

WorkDrive, a file management solution, now includes workflow automation. This empowers users to map, manage, and automate content procedures across departments and teams, reducing human error.

This is particularly important for activities like reviewing legal policy or reviewing and approving contracts, streamlining data collection for seamless onboarding of new employees, ensuring consistent HR operations, and more transparent task management.

Zoho Sign

This digital signature and ID verification solution can slot into unified systems at any workflow stage and ensures your business will never waste time tracking down a signature. The software can now create reusable templates, sales orders, HR documents, legal documents, and more, and automatically route them to appropriate team members.

Zoho says that by using Zoho Sign, businesses average 80% faster document turnarounds over requiring physical signatures, saving 50 hours per employee per year.

Pricing and Availability

Zoho Projects, WorkDrive, Sign, and Notebook are available now, and all the tools are very affordable.

Act Now

Many SMBs today simultaneously face numerous challenges and encounter new opportunities. As Frost & Sullivan says, “The time to reshape your [company] is now. Hybrid work demands that business leaders shed their old notions and assumptions to embrace new operating models that enable an elegant shift to the future workplace.” These new upgrades from Zoho allow you to do just that.

In partnership with Zoho

Collaboration stock image by TippaPatt/Shutterstock

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