Keys to Successful Group Collaboration

You can try do it alone. But should you? However independent you may think you are, no one can achieve as much working alone as they can with the collaborative help of others. Group results is often better, especially when the group collaboration is truly working together. When a group is really in sync it becomes a team. It’s amazing the amount of progress that can be made when a team is formed. No team?; then working together is harder and even counter-productive to success. The key is to start collaborating for a common purpose.

Here are ten ways to enhance collaboration and to make larger teams successful in an eStudio online office.

1) Analyze before you jump. Promote a clear understanding of the what, who, how, why. Unite the group together with a clear vision. Without a clear and common purpose – the reason for being together that everyone shares – collaboration will never reach its optimum potential.

2) As a group develop concrete, attainable goals. Common goals focus group energy.

3) Use an online office to communicate openly. Effective collaboration can be promoted through discussion boards designed to foster dialog among the group. Online office forum software encourages open and honest communication about ideas, experiences and opinions.

4) Group lists are very important where a company hierarchy is present. Hierarchy structure can be a barrier to the free flow of communication. Use eTeam functions for managing users so that individuals communicate effectively with their groups.

5) Build hybrid groups. Collaborative groups combine the strengths of each person. Let each person contribute so all team members are acknowledge, valued and deployed.

6) Think openly. Collaboration is an act of creation. Bring people together to find synergy – the sum being greater than the contribution of each individual. Collaboration will be enhanced when people feel comfortable about sharing their ideas, and worry less about whose idea gets implemented.

7) Determine accountability. Someone must be the administrator of the online office. But there can be many team leaders. Greater collaboration will come when everyone feels responsible; when everyone is comfortable and empowered to take the initiative. Collaborative groups are mobs, teams may have a leader, but teams are filled with people ready to do what it takes to achieve results.

8) Compete externally. It is hard to collaborate when you feel competition within the group. Competition for power, position, ideas and more all get in the way of collaborative success. With a clear purpose and goals, people can be clear on what they are trying to accomplish and how to do that in service of the team’s success, not their personal (or departmental) success.

9) Hold regular group meetings. It’s easy to get lonely or lack initiative when you’re working away from other team members. One way to avoid this problem is to regularly gather all staffers in a virtual session to review work progress. Meeting face-to-face will build employee loyalty and help teams cement good working relationships.

10) Ask for feedback. Productive collaborative work requires two-way communication. It’s important to solicit feedback so everyone can talk about what’s working and what’s not. When remote collaboration is new, you may want to talk to team members directly to solicit comments. After everyone is working comfortably, you might automate a feedback channel.

These ten collaboration tips will help you work better with others. The group might be a true working team, or it might be a group gathered for a one-time event to solve a problem or complete a task. The more these tips are implemented, the more successful the collaborative results will likely be.

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Predicting Success With eStudio 7

Same-Page eStudio has been offering cloud computing solutions for ten years and has served over 25,000 companies and 500,000 users. Over this period of time we have been utilized by many different kinds of businesses. Some are “seed” companies that are basically little more than two people with a good business idea. Others are small businesses that have fewer than 50 people that operate from multiple locations. We’ve had many NFP or “dot orgs” that need to share data across a wide membership audience. We’ve also had our share of Fortune 500 companies that have embarked on new growth strategies that required creating “ad hoc” networks across strategic partners, consultants, and teleworkers. Each company that finds Same-Page eStudio is unique but they are all looking to our collaboration software to solve a specific problem by using one or more of our software tools.

Usually our customer interaction begins with a phone call or an email asking us “Can your software solve our project management, scheduling, document management, contact management, web conferencing, or community building problem?”. The question is coming from a single person who usually has a fact finder or leadership role in the business.

The inquiries from leaders tend to be the most successful. They are the ones that have been given the authority to actually make it happen. They make the decisions that drive their business forward. They are not afraid to take risks and like the rewards for challenges conquered. These people are even more likely to succeed if they are surrounded by people who can bring additional strengths to the process. An entrepreneur who brings in a project manager and a scheduler will be more likely to succeed than just managing it all themselves.

The inquiries from fact finder fail because the individual does not have the passion necessary to inspire the team.  If the collaboration problem is really big and painful and is endangering the life of the company then there is still a good chance that a “fact finder” can successfully get everybody on the same page.

During the initial contact we can predict the success of the initiative based upon the drive or passion of the potential customer, how well organized they are, their computer skills and their raw intelligence. If the initial contact is clicking around fast, has a list of researched based questions, and asking intelligent questions then we know that there is a good chance that they will be able to get eStudio to solve their collaboration problem. If the contact also exhibits good leadership skills and immediately wants to show the features to other stakeholders then success is highly likely.

eStudio 7 Soft Launch

Starting today 07/08/09 everyone can log in to the new eStudio 7 interface. Over the last four years Same-Page read all your feedback emails and noted your comments during webinars and phone support. Based on this information a new eStudio 7 design has evolved. It has taken almost 12 months to rebuild the underlining eStudio code with our latest round of improvements and to craft the new design elements. We’d like to thank those that help contribute to Alpha & Beta testing.

Top 5 Benefits
Easier To Use – new layout is sleek with iphone button navigation.
No Pop-ups – no more annoying alert prompts from Internet Explorer.
Customizable – use the new color picker widget, drag & drop, and rich text editing to engage your users.
Faster – using web 2.0 standards database calls are 10X faster.
Safer – new security protocols and backup procedures.

Collaboration Software

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eStudio’s online tools are designed for businesses that need to increase productivity and improve communications between workers and clients. Currently eStudio’s software tools are being utilized by: Publishers, Financial Management Firms, Graphic Designers, Video Production Facilities, Educators, Web Designers, Software Developers, Public Sector Administrators, Public Relation Firms, Building Contractors, Advertising Agencies, Trade Show Exhibit Builders and many other types of businesses.

Manage projects, calendars, contacts and files with a cloud computing based solution that gives you all these project management and collaboration tools:

  • WorkSpace – user restricted folders and document management
  • Review and Approval – workflow tool
  • Version Control – sign out files
  • Discussion Boards – community building – knowledge base
  • Live Chat – secure with saved transcript
  • Accounting – to track budgets and expenses
  • Company Calendar – share company events among users
  • Personal Calendar – to track schedules and next-step responsibilities
  • Scheduler Calendar – set schedules for other
  • Calendar Export – export calendar events for easy import into Outlook
  • Publish Calendar – share company events with visitors to your website
  • Contact Manager – user restricted folders with contact notes
  • eManager – create users, set privileges
  • eStudio Customizations – customize the color scheme of your eStudio
  • Messaging Administration – manage and customize email notifications
  • Presentations – create slide shows
  • Polling – let your group vote on logos, policies
  • TaskTracker – user based project management simplified
  • Supervisor Report – get granular reports on active projects
  • Gantt Chart – draw visual representations of all ptasks in your projects
  • Issue Reporting – communicate obstacles among project users
  • WorkLog Recording – record hours and description of activities
  • WebLinks – create secure links to important web pages and blogs
  • Access Logs – know who logged in to work and when they logged out
  • Vault – private secure FTP upload areas
  • Track Budget – create a master budget
  • Record Expenses – centrally record user expenses
  • Reception – Add Messages to turn your Reception area into a portal
  • eTeams – custom email distribution lists
  • Client Extranets – secondary eStudios to keep each clients portfolio separate
  • Online Back-up – use our FTP tools to backup business critical files
  • QuikNotes – intranet based post-it notes