Article: Why traditional communication tools don’t work for International Business

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Why don't traditional communication tools work for International Business?

JULY 09, 2018
Author: Rob Garrison
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International communication is complex due to cultural, language, time, and technological barriers.
Take the following conversation I had with a supplier as an example:

0800 Tuesday morning: Me - Is my sample now complete?
0800 Wednesday morning: Supplier - Not ready yet.
0801 Wednesday morning: Me - When do you expect it to be ready?
0800 Thursday morning: Supplier: Should be ready soon.

Instead of assisting the process, communication too often becomes more like a tennis match with snippets of information bouncing back and forth between parties without anyone having sight of the full picture. I am certain no-one got what they needed from this 3-day exchange.

Efficient business collaboration is everyone's goal, and there are a lot of applications designed to make it happen. Email, messaging services, prototyping tools, image sharing, video calls...the list of tools and channels is extensive, with more added on a daily basis. Ironically, the range of choice presents just as much a challenge as it does a solution. Skype, Zoom, or Hangout? Gmail or Outlook? WeChat, Whatsapp, or Snapchat?

A reality check
Recently I created a new product and in a single month, exchanged 87 email messages, 137 WhatsApp messages, 15 photos, 2 sketches, and 2 Skype calls – and that was simply to get us on the same page with what we were building, not to build it.

It’s true that certain tools like Slack and Front are helping to tackle the problem of providing clarity and transparency of information. However adding another piece of technology to the mix can easily add to the complexity rather than solve it.

A simple solution
For international businesses, the solution lies in having the right features readily available within your sourcing and ordering systems. Taking the learnings from pioneer tools such as Slack and putting them right where you need them: collaboration, video, chat, image sharing, screen-share, all in one place.

Only then can everyone in the process have both access and visibility to the information they need, when they need it – shifting a 3-day exchange down to a matter of seconds.

Check out our in-built collaboration tool to learn more.

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