Today’s top companies use an average of 24 tools and software platforms for their daily operations, according to Sifterfy.
Part of the reason companies can now use so many different tools is the proliferation of software as a service (SaaS). Also called web-based or on-demand software, these tools enable companies to access centrally hosted programs over the Internet.
SaaS tools have a range of uses, from accounting to marketing to task management. One of their most potent benefits is their ability to help boost a team's creativity. Here are six ways in which they do so.
1. Improving organization
SaaS tools can help you organize various aspects of your business, from whole departments to individual projects. Improving your company's organization enables you to work more efficiently and frees your staff to focus on being creative.
You could, for example, use a project management tool to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding which projects are priorities, which to save for later and the progress on all of them.
Other SaaS apps that can help you improve organization focus on time tracking, contact management, meeting scheduling and a variety of other areas. These apps help you make sure these vital parts of your business are in order.
When you have these areas under control, you have more room to focus on creativity. Research tells us our creative outcomes are better when we separate collecting information and creating, rather than trying to multitask. Having your information well-organized helps you avoid having to multitask in this way.
2. Fostering collaboration
Working as a team is a crucial part of many projects, as is working across departments.
By bringing various perspectives to a project, collaboration can help spark new ideas. It’s also vital because it gives a project team easy access to a broader range of information.
SaaS apps can help support collaboration and make working together both more comfortable and more effective. There are many different SaaS collaboration apps available, including task management, project cooperation and contact information sharing. These tools can enable everything from file sharing to instant messaging to real-time collaboration.
These apps can help your team share ideas and the progress they’ve made on a specific project. They can also allow them to quickly send projects between teams to request input or information to move a project forward.
While you may want to allow some time for employees to work independently as well, teamwork is often a key project component. SaaS tools are an excellent way to support this collaboration.
3. Getting feedback
SaaS tools for marketing, sales and customer support offer a window into the minds of customers. Having easy access to this feedback can help staff understand what they need to work on and help spark creative ideas for improving sales, branding and customer experience.
One of the most powerful such tools is the customer relationship management system, or CRM. These systems, of which there are many, help you organize your interactions with customers and prospective customers. They also help you optimize your customer interactions to improve conversions, revenue and customer satisfaction.
By using these tools and similar ones, your company can gather insights into how people view your brand, products and services by pulling information from online reviews, social media interactions, emails and many other sources.
Having easy access to the opinions of customers gives team members another valuable perspective to consider. It also helps staff think about things from the standpoint of the customer. Stepping back from a problem in this way and thinking about it from a different angle can help your team come up with more innovative solutions.
4. Saving time
One of the most noteworthy benefits of many SaaS apps is the time they can save your organization. SaaS tools can make your operations more efficient and take care of repetitive tasks, freeing up your staff to be more creative and come up with innovative ideas.
Call center SaaS tools, for example, can automate parts of your phone system and help direct customers to the appropriate representative more quickly. Customer service representatives can spend less time redirecting calls and more time coming up with solutions for customers.
These programs can also save your company time by automating sending emails, posting on social media, tracking expenses and more. Even if they don’t include automation, tech tools can still save you time by making your operations more efficient.
According to a recent study, removing the pressure of lack of time and tight deadlines leads to more creativity, and SaaS tools can help you do that.
5. Building creative teams
Another way to boost your team’s creativity is to hire more creative thinkers. You can do so by making creativity one of the primary characteristics you look for when hiring and encourage applicants to showcase their originality in their applications.
SaaS systems can help you optimize your hiring process and find more creative recruits. Greenhouse is one example of such a tool. It organizes tasks associated with the hiring process into a project management system that makes the entire process more efficient.
Greenhouse also offers tools for creating a more inclusive workplace. A growing body of research suggests more diverse workforces are more innovative.
6. Making creation easy
Many SaaS apps directly enable creative work, such as graphic design, writing and brainstorming.
Realtime Board, for instance, is a virtual whiteboard for brainstorming. It helps team members collaborate, and includes numerous integrations with other tools, such as cloud storage and creative design programs.
Adobe Creative Cloud tools, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, are crucial for designers. Google Docs and Grammarly can help make writing more efficient. These apps focus on specific tasks, but can be very beneficial when it comes to boosting creativity.
SaaS is an increasingly prevalent way for businesses to access tools that help support their operations.
Many of these tools can help boost creativity, and 82 percent of executives agree these tools can provide business benefits such as higher market share and increased revenue.