What online tools can help you more efficiently manage your organisation?

 

There are a number of online tools that can help you better manage internal and external communications. They include:

  • Tools used for direct communication, such as email and online voice and text chat
  • Collaboration tools for sharing documents and working on them remotely
  • Social media tools for internal communications and announcements.

Setting up email for your business

It can be easy to set up email for your business. There are two ways you can access it:

Email addresses are made up of a username and a domain name separated by the @ symbol. For example:

username@your-domain-name.com.au

Your username can reflect your real name or the name of your organisation. Alternatively, it can indicate the purpose of the email address. For example:

salesenquiries@your-domain-name.com.au

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Your email address’ domain name

If your domain name came with access to an email server, your email address’ domain name will match your website’s URL. If you opt for a hosted web mail solution, the domain name will match the address of the service (for example, username@gmail.com).

Managing your organisation’s email accounts

You can use  spam filters to reduce the amount of  spam or junk email that lands in your organisation’s email accounts. Many browser email services—such as Gmail and Hotmail—include spam filters. Spam emails can overwhelm your email account and transmit viruses to your computer. You can read more about securing email in the ‘Security and legal’ section of this website.

Always back up important emails in case you lose access to your email account. You can do this by forwarding important emails to a separate email address, by using a, remote backup service or by copying your data to a storage device, such as a USB hard drive. Most email services let you create an archive of your entire mailbox as a single file.

Setting up instant messaging (IM) for your business

Instant messaging lets two or more people type messages to each other in real-time using text through a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Instant messaging is an easy way to communicate with staff and colleagues no matter where they are.

Most major providers of email applications also offer IM programs that you can download to your device or use inside your web browser. Well known IM products include Yahoo’s Yahoo Messenger, or Google’s Google Talk.

Setting up online voice chat for your business<

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services allow you to use your internet connection to make voice calls much like regular telephone calls. You can download a VoIP application to your computer or mobile device and make calls. Some internet service providers —including iiNetTPGOptus and Telstra — also provide VoIP services.

VoIP can potentially save your organisation money. VoIP services typically have lower call costs and use your existing internet connection. This is particularly useful if your organisation often makes international calls. Using VoIP can also potentially reduce capital investment costs because it is generally cheaper and easier to maintain when compared to traditional circuit switched telephone systems.

One of the most popular VoIP applications is Skype, which allows users to place free voice or video calls to other Skype users over the internet. Skype also allows you to call regular phone numbers at very low prices. It can be installed on mobile devices, desktop computers or tablets. A similar service is offered by Google, called Google Talk. Google Talk however, cannot connect with regular phone lines.

Collaboration tools

There are several tools that allow you to store documents online and invite other people to remotely view and edit them. Staff and colleagues can collaboratively work on a document through your web browser from any location that provides internet access.

Two options are Google Drive and Microsoft Office 365. Both allow you to create, edit and store a range of document types through a web browser. In addition you can invite your colleagues to upload, download, view and edit documents. The key difference between the two is that Google Docs is free and Microsoft Office 365 requires a subscription fee. Microsoft Office 365 also offers a suite of other software, including website development and managing email.

There are a few tools that allow you to share documents, but not edit them. Examples include DropBox and Huddle.

Using social media for internal communications

Facebook allows users to set up pages or ‘groups’ that can only be viewed by invited members. You can establish groups like this and invite employees via their Facebook profiles.

Other social media options for larger organisations include proprietary social networks, like Yammer. These social networks are closed to everyone but you and your employees. They allow you to make announcements to your organisation and provide your employees with a safe and secure way to communicate.