Digital tools are applications (software products or apps) that make your daily work routine easier. And they do this by providing central access to content that is necessary for your work in the company or project. Access is usually via the Internet by using a laptop, tablet and smartphone. The advantage is that you can work from anywhere you have Internet access.
There are many providers for such tools. The use is either free of charge (for small project teams or lone fighters), or limited free of charge (e.g. trial month to get to know) or subject to a fee (depending on the scope). For almost every area in your company, there is a digital tool that can simplify your processes.
What should you look for and how do you find the right tool for your employees?
Here are a few tips for you.
- Why does not only development but also sales need digital tools?
- For whom are digital tools suitable?
- What is the competitive advantage?
Digital tools facilitate teamwork (on-site and remote)
Whether working in the office or from home. The interface is the same. The information is the same. The tasks are the same. The process is the same.
Employees who work both in the office and at home have the advantage, that they don’t have to switch between different tools or need to take a great effort to do their work even at home. They can use them everywhere and they have access to relevant information from everywhere. That’s one of the big advantage.
Digital tools put our customers first.
Your customers also benefit from the digital tools you use in your business. The right tools can make customer care easier: for example, your employees can more easily manage your customers’ contact information and history. They can also view email exchanges between each employee and their customers. This way, every employee, at all times, is up to date and you can provide the best service to your customers.
How do you integrate digital tools into your business?
Most digital applications have a simple structure or a special purpose. Users can quickly familiarize themselves with the functions and actively integrate them into their everyday work.
Whatever you choose to use: Give your employees time to familiarize themselves with a program’s new features. In the case of difficult programs, you can provide training for your employees to take away their uncertainty. In this way, you guarantee in your company that the switch to digitization is not a step into uncharted waters.
Extra tip: Introduce new programs step by step. This way, you avoid overwhelming your employees and give them the opportunity to get used to the new tools at their own pace. Because change always takes time.
What should you look for when choosing digital tools?
Before purchasing digital tools, ask yourself: should your employees be able to access all information from anywhere? Maybe they do travel a lot or do work from home a lot? For your employees, in this case, partial or full cloud-based solutions would be the best choice. You can switch freely between end devices and are not tied to a fixed workstation.
All the data, documents and information your employees need are on a provider’s server. You don’t need your own IT infrastructure to maintain additional ones. However, your employees need an internet connection for cloud-based solutions.
What digital tools are available?
We, at AlphaNodes GmbH, use different programs for our daily work, but have one main tool, where everything flows together. So we keep an overview of everything.
For our team collaboration and to have an easier interaction with our customers, we use Redmine. It’s installed on our own server and accessible from every location by internet browser. It serves as issue tracking and CRM solution for us and our customers. As well as central information hub for other tools we use for our remote development team.
We use several add-ons to make management of additional information and sharing within our team easier.
- Puplic application repositories are stored on GitHub as well on GitLab. Relevant information is displayed within Redmine using DevOps plugin.
- and proprietary code or website development code is stored within Redmine using git_hosting_plugin.
- Our Monitoring tool for application monitoring is Zabbix and relevant information is displayed within Redmine using DevOps plugin.
- For Testing and Continous Integration we use Jenkins. Relevant information is displayed within Redmine using DevOps plugin.
- Project relevant information from excel spreadsheets are usually stored within Redmine as well, using Redmine DB Plugin. This way we have an up-to-date overview on contract information and time of services etc.
- To make teamwork more effective we use automation where possible. In coding as well as in project management. For this we have activated Redmine Automation plugin to do automated work on issues and users (new, active or inactive).
- the HRM Plugin gives us an overview of the tasks assigned to our employees involved in development and system administration. In regular meetings, tasks are discussed with our employees. They do the time estimation based on which the issue prefixes then automatically flow into the resource planning. If there is a problem to finish at the planned end of the sprint, we see this already during the meeting (or shortly after) and can take countermeasures if necessary.
- The meetings take place remotely (via Jitsi-Call). The documentation for this is done with HedgeDoc, which stores the information centrally in Redmine, making it available to any authorized employee.
- For the team chat we use Rocket.Chat. Which is also connected to Redmine (via Messenger_plugin) and outputs certain information from Redmine in channels.
The basics of digital tools
Digital tools are designed to help you and your business get through your day-to-day work faster and easier. They can speed up processes and simplify labor-intensive tasks. Depending on the area you want to modernize with digital tools, digital tools can help:
- make everyday operations easier.
- support the flexibility of employees and the entire company.
- take over time-consuming tasks from employees.
- create better and faster exchanges outside departments.
- improve customer centricity.
- provide employees with valuable information.
- create a better overview of customer interest.
- create quotes faster and tailor them to the customer.
- give your customers a good feeling because your employees are well informed and able to help.
All information about our extensions for Redmine is available on the product page. Customers whose Redmine does not meet the minimum requirements or who prefer to hire someone to install and regularly maintain their Redmine instance have the alternative to book our Managed Application Hosting for Redmine. Here, the plugin is already part of our hosting offering. The functionality can be tested extensively in our online demo.