Real-time document collaboration helps organizations across all industries produce consistently better documentation for internal processes, product releases, blog content, and more. A well-rounded team can bounce ideas off each other and consider different perspectives, sparking innovation and finding creative solutions to new problems, all from one comprehensive platform.
The secret to success: cloud-based storage and editing tools that connect team members worldwide and enable simultaneous work.
What is document collaboration?
Collaboration creates better work and drives innovation by exposing team members to new perspectives and aligning everyone to the same objectives. While it can take many forms, effective collaboration can:
- Boost overall productivity
- Build a stronger company culture
- Create novel solutions to old problems
- Help teams save time on major projects
- Improve transparency across your organization
Document collaboration is multiple people working together to create a single document. In the past, people would collaborate on documents by marking up a document and sending it to their collaborators via email or by storing it in a file-sharing system like a network drive. Now, technology has advanced to enable real-time document collaboration. And teams see the benefits.
What is real-time collaboration, and how does it work?
Traditional collaboration methods like file-sharing systems and email conversations work, but the rise in remote and hybrid work has made them largely ineffective. Team members struggle to keep track of edits and often lack access to documents. Communicating with other participants can be awkward, requiring people to switch back and forth between messaging apps and documents — or they have to plan unnecessary meetings to catch up.
Real-time document collaboration features solve these issues by enabling multiple team members to work together on the same document simultaneously, no matter where they are. These tools leverage cloud computing and automation to offer team members easy access to the resources they need. This way, they can bring their best to the table and work more closely with other participants on the project.
Real-time collaboration means multiple team members can work on the same document at the same time
Top 4 real-time document collaboration benefits
Your company will be more agile, develop a stronger company culture, and increase productivity with real-time document collaboration. These are just some of the many benefits your company can expect.
1. Enhanced team efficiency and productivity
Documentation is complex, so it’s easy for projects to fall behind when people have to wait for access to the correct version of a file or a response from a team member. And when people lack the resources to work well together, it hurts the overall company culture.
Real-time document collaboration streamlines writing and editing by eliminating the need to maintain multiple versions of the same document. Editors can make changes, while integrated workflow automation notifies the writers. Once the writers make the required changes, the tool can then notify the editors or project managers — and so on.
Workflow automation, real-time collaboration, and custom templates improve productivity and efficiency
Additionally, customizable templates in your storage drive speed up each stage of a project by enabling teams to maintain a consistent workflow. Admins can make a copy of a template and share it with the right people, then assign roles and permissions so everyone can get to work right away. An integrated workflow automation feature can then send the document to the appropriate reviewers immediately upon completion.
2. Streamlined communication and feedback loops
Effective communication is critical for ensuring teams meet their deadlines, but it’s often difficult for people on remote or hybrid teams to maintain the close contact needed for constructive collaboration. Geographical distance can weaken the trust and sense of community team members have with each other, as well as their connection to the company. And this can ultimately result in poorer work quality.
Using a real-time document collaboration platform enables your team members to stay connected even when they’re spread across the country — or the world. Team members see who’s in the document and what changes they’re making. They can offer feedback right away and avoid emailing back and forth later.
Additionally, a document collaboration tool that integrates with other cloud communication platforms consolidates all your apps under one umbrella so you aren’t constantly switching back and forth between different apps. Team members can chat in the document editor or share their screen on a video call, generating new ideas and eliminating the need to hold additional meetings that cut into other important work. Integrated virtual whiteboard tools also provide a blank space for teammates to brainstorm, draft, and experiment with ideas together without altering the document.
3. Better collaboration and teamwork
Asynchronous communication works well for coordinating work on certain projects, but it’s not a very effective collaboration method. Real collaboration requires team members to be on the same page — both literally and figuratively.
Real-time document collaboration tools enable team members to change a document and have those changes update immediately for everyone viewing the doc. This capability is possible because of the cloud. With the document stored in the cloud, there’s only one copy, no matter how many people are editing the document at once.
When it’s time to wrap up for the day, team members can leave comments and annotations directly on the document for others to address later. Everyone knows the project’s status and what they must do next to keep it moving.
4. Improved document security and version control
One of the biggest issues with conventional document-sharing methods is that you have to maintain multiple versions of the same document. Even if you send each new version to your collaborators, there’s always the chance that one team member won’t receive it, or that they’ll use the wrong version.
Cloud tools with version control features ensure you’re always working on the most recent version of your document. Additionally, you don’t have to send it back and forth via email or upload new versions to decentralized file-sharing systems because everything is stored safely in your centralized cloud repository.
Cloud storage provides a centralized location to save documents so team members work from the most recent version
The cloud provides a centralized storage location for easy access, so everyone on your team sees the same edits when they open the document. Plus, you can track changes and view the editing history so you always know who’s doing what and when.
But what happens when you’re not satisfied with the changes you or your team made? A centralized version history ensures you can revert to any previous version of your document, giving you the ultimate flexibility in the revision process.
Discover the power of the Content Cloud
With a single secure platform for all your content, Box enables you to manage the entire content lifecycle: file creation, co-editing, sharing, e-signature, classification, retention, and so much more. We make it easy for you to collaborate on content with anyone, both inside and outside your organization. Frictionless, enterprise-grade security and compliance are built into our DNA, so you get total peace of mind that your content is protected. And with 1,500+ seamless integrations — as well as a range of native capabilities, like Box Sign — the Content Cloud provides a single content layer that ensures your teams can work the way they want.
The Content Cloud is a game changer for the entire organization, streamlining workflows and boosting productivity across every team. Contact us today, and explore what you can do with Box.
While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blog post is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.