There’s no such thing as “business as usual” any more. Technology and devices have changed the way we work—from the factory floor to the high-rise office building.
One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is the need for collaboration. In fact, in today’s always-on, always-moving markets, getting everyone on the same page with the latest information is critical. Having and sharing up-to-date data establish the basic foundation for companies to innovate, deliver faster, and edge out their competition.
How do you improve collaboration and make that information instantly accessible? The most straightforward, economical place to start is document management and file sharing. These solutions transform workflow, making it simpler and faster for people to exchange ideas and information. Documents, presentations, videos, and other files that may be stored in multiple locations can be centralized in a cloud, where they be accessed, reviewed, edited, and printed from just about any device.
And when your workflow is transformed, so is your business. File sharing improves collaboration, increases efficiency, and enables greater productivity. Here’s why:
- Anywhere, any time access to information
Getting a project team together for a face-to-face meeting can often be impractical, if not impossible — especially in distributed workforces with multiple locations and remote workers. File-sharing solutions make getting input and updates from even the largest groups quick and easy.
For example, by uploading data and documents to a cloud solution or other central storage location, team members can retrieve and print materials no matter where they are. The right cloud solution uses software that seamlessly integrates with multifunction printers; that means that users can simply upload or download files right from the printer control panel. This level of flexibility also reduces the time spent in meetings, as documents can be shared on the fly.
- Work faster
To stay ahead of the competition, companies must move fast. Sharing information digitally is a key component in this. It means, for example, a chief engineer working at a client site being able to access and review files on her smartphone just as easily as if she was at her desk at the headquarters office. Decisions can be made faster, cutting time to market.
And if the engineer needs to review hard copies, the right mobile application will automatically connect with a wireless LAN, enabling her to print from her mobile device from virtually anywhere.
- Save time and resources
Preparing for a meeting where there are handouts or information packets can eat up valuable time.
Digital file sharing can significantly reduce that prep time. For example, one government agency implemented a cloud-based, document-sharing solution that allows users to retrieve and collate files from various locations and applications. Meeting participants access digital documents in the cloud in advance of meetings — printing them if they desired. It eliminated the need for staff to print, collate, assemble, and distribute hard copies prior to meetings. Instead of taking an average of six hours of prep time, the agency says the process now takes less than 20 minutes.
When companies make it easier for staff to collaborate, they also improve their ability to be more agile, innovate and stay ahead of the competition.
Kellye Norris is a freelance writer and editor, who specializes in technology and science.