By Katie Levenstein
In the virtual business environment of most consulting firms, remote working—across states or the globe—and collaboration among engagement teams and clients, is absolutely essential. Does your current platform support this type of streamlined communication to aid in improving operational performance and employee productivity? How much time today is spent on tracking down information, scheduling meetings or following up on tasks? Luckily, today’s new “social collaboration” approaches provide ample opportunities for sharing and interaction—and could be the new cornerstone your firm needs for long term success.
Social collaboration centralizes all communication and information within the context of your firm’s project or engagement so everyone involved has easy access to documents or answers to questions. Purpose-built social collaboration tools, such as Kona, grant real-time access to essential documents, conversations, important deliverables, major milestones, tasks and events for every project—helping your firm increase productivity and profitability
Enable Your Consultants
Imagine the consultant who can, at any time, visit a shared website to converse with everyone on the engagement, review the task status or assign new tasks, and answer questions or review documents. With all key players having a way to communicate and share information, consider how many meetings you can avoid and how much more time can be spent focusing on clients.
Tip: This added efficiency frees up your resources and allows your firm to focus on what really matters—winning more business and keeping clients happy.
Impress Clients with Improved Communication
Social collaboration helps boost client satisfaction. Clients may be annoyed by long and complicated email chains, while consultants and staff can be equally frustrated when requests or answers aren’t readily available. And consultants excluded from the email chain can’t interject help or guidance, marginalizing their value to the engagement. Social collaboration brings everyone together: clients are easily included via a secure Web-based project workspace. A simple log-in brings instant access to documents, checklists, meetings and conversations.
Tip: Tighten client’s connection to your firm and provide them with complete visibility and seamless access into their projects progress.
Be Social and Be Secure
If the thought of opening project information and documentation to everyone is unsettling–it need not be. Social collaboration gives you the right controls to provide or limit consultant or client access when necessary. You have the flexibility to keep sensitive information private, and request involvement when appropriate. And, if you choose to leverage the “cloud” for your social collaboration platform, you place responsibility for scalability, disaster recovery and data backup in the hands of a trusted third party, eliminating new responsibilities for your IT team.
Tip: Make sure any social collaboration tools you choose provide the security to give you peace of mind.
The Talent Equation
Being social has now become commonplace within our connected lifestyle – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. If you are looking to encourage young talent into your firm, these tech-savvy employees will expect a social environment to be part of the firm’s culture. Social collaboration at your firm will help attract and retain quality talent. Additionally, a socially connected workforce keeps employees engaged, while promoting a culture of innovation.
Tip: Bringing social collaboration to your firm provides newfound value to your organization. Social collaboration increases efficiency and improves collaboration between colleagues and clients, boosting productivity and minimizing time spent on non-billable internal meetings.
Having secure and immediate access to the most up-to-date project information in one online location keeps teams current, organized and connected, whether they are across the hall or on another continent. With social platforms becoming more prevalent in our lives, doesn’t adopting a more collaborative environment make sense for bringing your organization better margins and more satisfied clients?
Katie Levenstein is the Engagement Manager at Deltek.