For some organizations, the term cloud collaboration simply means promoting team productivity through better file sharing. Cloud collaboration, after all, is a way of co-authoring files through the use of cloud computing. The technology simplifies the sharing of files by storing all documents in a central cloud, giving everyone with the right permissions the ability to edit and upload at the same time.
Google’s G Suite for enterprises fits the basic definition of cloud collaboration. But to leave it as that would be a grievous error on your part. In fact, it offers more beyond simple file sharing. According to the suite’s designers, they created G Suite with a vision in mind: to help companies re-imagine work and collaboration with a suite of intelligent and flexible cloud-native tools.
How does G Suite live up to this vision?
Better Document Creation and Sharing
According to Google’s internal research, businesses spend 76 percent of the time they work in Google Docs on collaborative work. This data encouraged G Suite designers to improve the collaborative function in the Google Docs’ editors according to the five common employee behaviors:
- Editing documents together. Employees are free to work on a file simultaneously with other collaborators on Sheets, Docs, and Slides. They can also use it to merge multiple threads of changes into a single record.
- G Suite takes document creation a step further by integrating the power of G Suite’s collaboration with other Microsoft Office Tools. Employees can comment, edit, and use features like Explore in Office files, similar to the way they do in G Suite files.
- Seeing document changes. G Suite records all changes in the version history, which enables collaborators to see a holistic view of edits to a document. They can also restore previous versions with a click of a button.
- It’s also easier to perform a thorough review of a document with Google Docs. Users can compare changes in documents and see the edit history of a particular cell within a spreadsheet.
- Giving and receiving feedback. The comment feature of Google Docs enables employees to give and receive actionable feedback in real-time. Thanks to Google’s dynamic email feature, comments on Sheets, Docs, and Slides easily integrate with Gmail, enabling collaborators to directly comment through email without having to switch tabs to resolve the concern.
- Assigning and completing tasks. G Suite’s commenting features also simplify the assignment of tasks to specific owners. The cloud-native tool uses artificial intelligence (AI) to auto-detect tasks and give suggestions on who should be assigned to it. With this feature, you don’t have to worry about sending separate emails to everyone involved in the project.
- Sharing documents confidently. Once a collaborator is ready to share their files, they can use G Suite’s built-in permission sharing to control the people who can see the information (both externally and internally). A user can also set expiration dates for a specific collaborator’s access to files saved in Docs, Drive, Slides, and Sheets. Enforcing FIDO security keys keeps files more secure.
G Suite also offers Shared Drives (formerly known as Team Drives). The feature allows G Suite users to create folder items that are owned by the Shared Drive and not a specific contributor. So, the files and documents in the drive remain, even when the people with access to the drive change.
On average, employees attend about 62 meetings every month. With so many meetings requiring their presence, it won’t be a surprise if some schedules overlap.
Meet-ups are essential for brainstorming sessions; if one member of the team is missing due to another meeting, the session might have to be rescheduled or canceled. While it’s possible to conduct the meeting with the available employees, the group will miss out on the insight from the missing team member(s).
Google Calendar simplifies scheduling by helping everyone in the organization keep track of their to-do list, as well as arrange meetings with members from other departments. The app allows you to view your colleague’s calendars, so you can plan around already existing meetings and tasks. If you haven’t seen their calendar and tried to schedule them for your meeting, Google will notify you of their unavailability.
Aside from preventing conflicts in schedules, Google Calendar helps employees:
- Set and receive reminders for upcoming meetings and events
- Notify colleagues about meetings by sending email invites (even to collaborators who do not use Google Calendar)
- Migrate data from external calendars like Exchange or Outlook
Better Team Communication
One of the biggest challenges to effective collaboration is weak communication channels. Under that broad concern are smaller details that destabilize the culture of robust and productive communication you’d want in your company:
- Lack of feedback
- Misinterpretation of information
- Email overload
- Lack of time to meet all important contributors at once
Addressing these concerns requires a high level of customization; you’ll need to equip employees with dynamic communication tools. Apart from the traditional email feature, G Suite enhances team communication with chat and face-to-face video conferencing.
Email. Emails are the heart of workplace communication. Its omnipresent nature enables businesses to move forward through quick delivery of information online.
G Suite adds more to basic email functions with the help of AI. Google’s Gmail for enterprises can remind employees to reply to colleagues, draft emails quicker, and sort emails according to project categories.
Also, data safety isn’t an issue. Gmail keeps 99.9 percent of malware, spam, and phishing from reaching your inboxes.
Chat. Apart from emails, collaborators need quicker ways to communicate in case of urgent matters. Hangouts Chat’s virtual chat rooms house threaded conversations and projects over time, making it easier to follow up on tasks and track project progresses.
Since Hangouts integrates with other G Suite apps like Google Drive, you don’t have to switch tabs to access files. Hangouts is also set to integrate with Gmail deeply. The move will make it easier for employees to access communication channels from a single platform.
Lastly, Google’s chat rooms are equipped with AI-powered bots designed to expedite workflows in CRM, human resources, project management, and finance.
Video conferencing. Face-to-face interactions promote better collaboration since the exchange of information happens quicker. Plus, people can express more ideas in person compared to a chatbox.
G Suite’s Hangouts Meet is an updated version of the Google software. It enables users to communicate with up to 250 people in a single call. It also goes beyond typical video conferencing solutions by offering live streaming for up to 100,000 people and automatic live captioning.
Hangouts’ hardware also reduces the burden on your IT support team since it can identify and troubleshoot issues on its own, thanks to its AI-powered support system.
Better Measurement of Collaboration
Measuring collaboration gives you insight into how employees use your resources to work together on projects. It also reveals areas for improvement in terms of communication and productivity. But how can you tell that the way you measure “collaborative effort” is optimal?
Google provides tested and proven tools to help you quantify this aspect of your operations. For example, Work Insights help businesses analyze how their employees use and adapt to G Suite’s productivity tools. Employers can also identify departments that need more training on G Suite usage, as well as assess the state of collaboration between departments.
The Activity Dashboard, on the other hand, enables G Suite users to see how others interact with their documents. They can then track the people behind the changes and discuss a way to address project concerns.
Better Support for Team Performance
The G Suite Marketplace is a goldmine of third-party apps and tools designed to customize your digital workplace.
If you want to handle telephony needs effectively, extend your G Suite with Jamboard, an interactive white-board style canvass that enables users to visualize their ideas online. Users can draw, drop images, add notes, and pull assets directly from the Internet while collaborating with their team members.
In terms of productivity, Asana is an excellent app for tracking progress, planning projects, and managing all contributors from one dashboard. The app also has a Timeline feature that shows users how the pieces of their projects fit together, as well as keep their work on track as project changes occur.
Other must-try tools available in the marketplace are GQueues, an online task manager, and Todoist, an actionable to-do list.
G Suite is not just another app that simplifies file sharing in the cloud. It is a core suite of communication and collaboration tools that encourage employees to work better together. Nothing spells employee collaboration better than having a complete set of applications that caters to all aspects of your business all on a single cloud.
As an approved G Suite reseller, Business Cloud Deals has worked with several organizations to harness G Suite’s capabilities by improving their collaboration in real-time and the efficiency of their IT structure. We set ourselves apart from other Google G Suite enterprise service providers by selling plans at their original prices and cloud systems at lower rates (for a limited time only).
If you think G Suite is the best solution for your business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our contact form. Expect an assessment call and a quote from us, both free of charge.