Intellinote is an all-in-one project management, collaboration and organization tool for businesses, owners, managers and professionals. It can be used to drive productivity, boost employee or client engagement and reduce operational costs while doing so.
The platform revolves around a system of individual workspaces that offer a vertical level of accessibility to employees, team members and even clients who need access, without being a distraction for those who don’t.
While Intellinote is fairly straight forward to get up and running, effective use of any platform relies on knowing exactly how to use it best. We’ve come up with a few real-world usage scenarios where business teams and employees who collaborate regularly can benefit from the services on offer.
Capture Everything (Just About)
As a collaborative platform, Intellinote seeks to replace multiple platforms and fragmented tools with one solution. It does this using customizable workspaces – ready-to-roll-out hubs for Notes, Discussion and Task management. Each workspace can be used to create these items, and there’s no limit to the number of workspaces you can create.
Notes, Tasks & Discussions are the catch-all mediums for anything relevant to your organization. Whether you want to share and collaborate on research, conduct brainstorming sessions between different departments or assign various tasks and roles to different members of your team, Intellinote can do it.
Real-world examples aren’t hard to imagine: rather than sending out an email each time you change a policy, simply keep a relevant note up to date and assign members of your team to it. Create a workspace just for your group idea sessions, and post the results to a new note each time. Do you use a whiteboard to bounce ideas around a room? Take a picture and attach it to the relevant Discussion for safe keeping. The list is virtually endless.
When you visit a workspace, you’re always ready to add content using the “Add quick note” area, simply start typing and hit enter to capture your thoughts. For tasks or Google Drive documents, hit the inviting Add New button.
Many organizations use email for discussion while still relying on external project management and organization tools, which often results in the over-reliance on email for making decisions. While there will always be a place for email within most organizations, many discussions thrive when moved alongside other relevant notes and attachments.
A Place For Everything Work-Related
And so Intellinote’s core aim is to be an organized repository of what’s most important to your organization, project or business. To really make the most of the platform, you should use it to store absolutely everything – and workspaces are the key to keeping everything tidy and organized.
The Personal Workspace even offers members of your team a place to create their own Notes and Tasks which don’t clutter up other members’ workspaces, and are private to that user. Such material has a tendency to end up in personal Evernote accounts or on iPad note-taking apps, rather than in a place relevant to the project or company itself. With Intellinote, each note can quickly be moved from workspace to workspace, or edited by other members.
To change an item’s Workspace affiliation or whether or not the item can be edited by other members, first select it and then click the Information button, which appears as a small “i“. You can then change who can make changes by checking the Allow Workspace Members to Edit box, or click on the Workspace field to reassign the item elsewhere.
Attachments also play a big part in the Intellinote system, with each note providing users with the ability to upload files from their computers or Google Drive accounts. Using the mobile apps (available for both iOS and Android) it’s even possible to add pictures – or any file on your mobile device – straight from a smartphone or tablet to a note.
With everything under the same roof, it’s surprising how easy it is to cut down on the amount of email you send when you can simply amend a note or comment on a task in-line – after all, every Note, Task or Discussion has its own comment section.
Being Attached Is Good
Intellinote hopes to absorb all of your loose files by providing a very attachment-friendly environment for work-related files. Notes, Discussions and Tasks can all have multiple files pinned to them, and so can comments made on these items. What would once have been a to-and-fro email exchange about a task becomes a work-focused discussion in a productive environment.
This allows you to do interesting things like discuss revised versions of products with clients directly in Intellinote itself, within a workspace you created specifically for that client. Alongside this, are many other mockups you may have already discounted, records of discussions, minutes from meetings and recordings of conference calls all specific to that client.
Intellinote is billed as a repository for everything work-related, because that’s how it works best.
Organize & Share Everything With Context
Gmail was the revolution in email the Internet needed in 2004, but by fusing effective search and organization with a seemingly limitless space for email messages, Google created something many of us now depend on for work-related tasks. Essential though it may be, email is not the ideal platform for collaboration, organization or project management. Despite the necessity of email for many years to come, you can probably move most of your discussions to a more suitable and productive platform.
If you’re used to Gmail or a Google Apps email account, your ability to organize yourself is limited to the number of filters you have and the search terms you use. Even if you’re especially organized and proficient in finding what you’re looking for, the email inbox is widely regarded as a highly disorganized space.
A frequent distraction, email costs companies around the world hundreds of millions of dollars a year – or, on a more personal note, hours of your otherwise productive day – so there’s something to be said about avoiding your inbox as much as possible. Using email as a go-to for sharing ideas, brainstorming and even communicating with clients or vendors has to stop if you want to put your time to better use.
Organising Your Notes, Tasks & Discussions
The two things that make Intellinote perfect for organising your ideas, to-dos and collaborative ideas are workspaces and tags.
Workspaces are context-specific hubs, and can be tailored to whatever needs you currently have. That’s a pretty powerful organizational tool, particularly considering each Note, Task or Discussion is tied to one workspace in particular. By their very nature, workspaces facilitate organization by binding your content to its relevant context.
These items can be shared vertically with anyone in your organization or, by adding users to a workspace, you can ensure they see all relevant material that’s shared there. This also results in a less cluttered workspace for members who don’t need access to absolutely everything. And because you can create as many workspaces as you need, the contexts can vary wildly.
Create workspaces for whole departments, individual projects, clients or vendors and any arbitrary grouping you happen to need. Use temporary workspaces for yearly audits which can be archived until you need them again, but are always accessible from the same location.
On each workspace Settings page, you will find an option for Workspace Group. This offers a more senior level of organization which you can use to group together dormant projects, completed contracts or archived workspaces you might no longer need. You can create as many groups as you need, simply type a new name into the box.
Workspaces are already pretty organized, but using tags it’s possible to filter content even more effectively. Tags exist within workspaces, including the Personal Workspace and allow you to group various different Tasks, Discussions or Notes together. Tags are designed to organize on a personal level, while workspaces help organize everything on a much grander scale.
Only Follow What You Need
Intellinote delivers a complete overview of the workspaces for which you are a member, with digests via email and activity overviews for catching up on recent changes. However, there may be items you want to keep track of as a matter of priority and in this situation you should follow a note.
To follow an item, click (or tap) the RSS-like Follow icon. Notes you have followed appear under Following in the Unified Workspace.
Followed items are, by default, filtered by Note, Task and Discussion. These might be the most important items you’re currently working on for workspaces you frequent, or they could be another way of following a Note, Task or Discussion without having to subscribe to the workspace in its entirety.
Make Meetings Useful Again
Technology has allowed us to have more meetings than ever, so why do we feel like our time isn’t being put to good use? Meetings are the foundation of effective group work, but all too often they become frustrating time-saps which occupy large chunks of your workdays. This is worse when you consider that these events often involve rounds of inefficient email ping pong before and afterwards – you’d be forgiven for never wanting to attend another meeting again.
The key to having smooth meetings is planning, and that involves considering what you can do before, during and after the meeting is complete. Much of the misery associated with meetings is down to the poor handling of agendas, minutes – and most of the time, these materials are buried in inboxes rather than being easily accessible when you need them.
It’s even possible that your meetings are inefficient and introducing an element of delay into your work – creating lists of things that need to be done rather than just doing them, for example.
Making Meetings Less Miserable
The immediacy of the Intellinote platform makes it perfectly suited to shaking up the way meetings are conducted. As a meeting organizer, you can create a Discussion in the relevant workspace outlining the meeting agenda, which will automatically be visible to any members of the relevant department.
Such an agenda should define objectives like items that need discussion, while taking suggestions from your team using Intellinote’s ability to comment on everything. If you have any proposals, documents, images, mockups or other files to distribute, you can do so simply by attaching them to your note.
Click the small i “information” button on a note to edit its visibility and allow other members of your team to also edit it.
Intellinote can be used during your meeting to create and assign tasks directly to your team members. Instead of creating a list of things to be done once your meeting is over, you can start organising your team immediately – create new workspaces on the fly for your new project, start discussion threads for off-topic items that crop up by posting new conversations to relevant departments or use the platform’s organizational prowess to quickly refer to past meeting agendas, goals and minutes.
Minutes are a necessary evil that even audio or video recordings can’t replace. While typing your minutes directly into Intellinote won’t make the process any more enjoyable, the ability to instantly share the fruits of your collaborative labour with the relevant group of people is priceless. Even if you’re not chairing the meeting, Intellinote’s Personal Workspace provides you with a focused, work-oriented location for your own notes.
And once you’ve held your meeting, Intellinote makes it easy to follow up with any tasks you have assigned (or been assigned), questions raised, off-topic discussions that were moved elsewhere and set a time and date for your next team gathering.
Remote Teams? Keep Them In The Loop
Intellinote makes it possible to stay connected whether it’s for occasional business trips or keeping in touch with employees who are regularly out of the office for set periods of time. It can also handle teams comprising entirely of permanent telecommuters scattered all across the globe, whom you have never met face to face.
Telecommuting can be lonely work, but if you’re part of a team it can be even worse; there’s a real danger of feeling alienated and out-of-the-loop as progress continues in your absence. While email is one way of staying in touch with colleagues, it probably won’t make you feel like you have a finger on the pulse. It’s also an incredibly inefficient and distracting medium.
Managers and other office-bound workers also need to stay in touch with telecommuters. The Internet removed many restrictions and indeed borders, but at the same time introduced hurdles that have to be surmounted – like organising a team, collaborating on projects, discussing ideas, assigning tasks and the myriad of other things Intellinote can help you with.
The Importance Of Feeling Connected
On top of being a work-focused platform designed with collaboration in mind, Intellinote is accessible from any web browser and on most mobile devices. Staying in touch could mean using any available web browser, or launching an app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
The Unified Workspace brings relevant items from other workspaces to the attention of employees, making it easy to “catch-up” or stay abreast of developments while travelling. Tasks are filed away under those you have to complete and those you have set, and each workspace has its own Home screen which provides a useful overview of recent changes, additions, comments and other activity.
Whereas you would normally be inundated with email for every little request, task or query while out of the office, Intellinote provides context-aware hubs for work-related tasks. Not only does this stem the flow of email, it focuses employees and contains discussions. The Unified Workspace consolidates these discussions into one area, so you can dedicate time to communicating with your team without resorting to email.
Remote workers will also find the ability to follow individual Notes, Tasks or Discussions a particular boon while out of the office. The feature allows users to keep specific materials close to hand without drowning in everything else, focusing attention where it needs to be by removing distractions.
Even if a demanding trip puts you on a different time-zone to the rest of your colleagues, Intellinote never sleeps – an asynchronous method of working brought on by our 21st century demands that takes a 21st century solution like Intellinote to reach its full potential.
There is a universal iOS app for iPhone and iPad, as well as a recently released Android app that also takes advantage of larger screen sizes. Both of these apps closely resemble the web app itself and you can do pretty much everything from a mobile app that you can from a browser, with the exception of creating new Google Drive documents.
One final advantage Intellinote users enjoy is an entirely browser-based approach. If push comes to shove, you can grab any laptop, PC or Mac and login via Intellinote’s homepage, no software necessary.
Vendor Management Simplified
As we have discussed ad nauseum, email is frequently seen as the backbone of many organizations, companies and assemblies of productive minds. Vendors – otherwise known as suppliers, sub-contractors, friends or just people you need to chase up about things that should have been done already – also tend to communicate via this method.
Keeping track of these discussions, agreements, deadlines and any supporting material using solely email is tough. Even if you’re already using collaborative tools like Google Drive for spreadsheets or document-sharing purposes, your discussions are probably taking place elsewhere and you probably use another tool on top of that to follow up on deadlines and tasks.
Solving Supplier Issues
There is an easier way. By setting up a workspace for those you need to chase down on a regular basis, you can contain all of this material and use one tool to manage it all. It shouldn’t take long for third parties to adjust to a new method of doing things, and the benefits from an organizational point of view are huge.
If you’re regularly ordering a product or requesting a service, assigning a task to that vendor with your exact requirements makes it easy for both parties to keep track of outstanding arrangements. Rather than resorting to email, discuss orders right there in Intellinote using comments and there’s a permanent record of any agreements where it matters the most. You could even allow your suppliers to create and assign tasks to you – so they don’t have to resort to fragmented communication and follow-ups either.
When it comes to chasing down these prior arrangements or to-do items, a visit to the relevant workspace or a flick through Tasks I’ve Assigned in the Unified Workspace makes it easy for both parties.
Businesses often have existing agreements surrounding responsibilities, assumptions, rates of pay or terms and conditions. Notes can be used to store these documents in a relevant environment before being tagged. Discussions relating to Tasks or files attached to Notes are finally organized in a logical way, under one platform – not three or four.
Use Templates Too
Templates are another part of Intellinote that make it easy to get up to speed with new workspaces. Rather than setting up a new workspace every time for each new vendor, take the time to customize a one-size-fits-all workspace that you can then turn into a template. Notes describing your expectations, contact information and Discussions designed to get the ball rolling can all be rolled out time and time again using this method.
You can turn any workspace into a template by visiting it, clicking Settings and then checking the box marked Allow using this workspace as a template. You can then click the Clone workspace button that appears below to quickly make copies, and the workspace will also appear in the template list.
Once you have created a workspace for a particularly business process (like planning an event), you can turn it into a template so your employees and team members can easily follow it every single time, without having to reinvent the wheel.
Keep Your Clients Close
Intellinote is not a complete customer relations tool, but it can take on a few of the roles commonly associated with the practice. Depending on your needs and the needs of your clients, it might save you money on paying for a separate CRM solution and the all-in-one approach ensures things are where you expect them to be and accessible from the same place.
Just like vendor management is important to a business consuming products or services, maintaining a good relationship with your clients is important and the key to this is often clear communication. It’s important to be timely with your responses, so it’s vital to be able to organize yourself.
Discussions are a great way to communicate. Not only do they support attachments and formatting, just like good old email, but they are tied to relevant workspaces and not scattered across inboxes. There’s even an area called My Discussions on the Unified Workspace that allows you to keep up with ongoing conversations easily.
Using Intellinote in this manner provides your client with a “home base” for whatever it is you are supplying them with, which will hopefully provide them with the tools they need to still feel close the project. At the same time, you’re given complete control over your client’s environment and interactions, allowing you to quickly bring things to their attention by creating Notes, sharing files, assigning you tasks or simply starting a new Discussion thread.
Empower Your Clients
Creating workspaces for each of your clients isn’t difficult if you take the time to configure a new template, after which it only takes a few clicks. For your clients, the process is just as simple; it doesn’t take long to register for an Intellinote account.
If you really want to take advantage of all Intellinote has to offer, encourage your clients to assign tasks. Get them to set due dates, write full descriptions, add any supporting files as attachments and use the comments to discuss the item. Once the task has been assigned, both parties can keep up with the progress.
The Tasks Assigned to Me and Tasks I’ve Assigned sections of the Unified Workspace make it easy for individuals to keep up with tasks regardless of workspace, useful when dealing with multiple clients, busy times of year or catching up on the go.
Naturally this system works both ways, and if you need additional information, payment or something else from a client or customer, simply create a new task and assign it to the relevant individual. Everything is where it needs to be – in the client (or project) workspace.
Keep Your Competitors Closer
It’s impossible for every business to know what the competition is up to at all times, but it’s certainly possible to build up a picture of what they have already achieved. Evolving your business strategy as a response to what your competitors are doing ensures you remain fresh and innovative, whatever you do. Intellinote is up for the task.
Tracking the competition’s presence is one way of keeping up. Each mention you see on blogs, in advertising materials or on social media can be recorded to a note you’re keeping on that particular company, group or individual. Sharing this note or adding members of your team to the workspace makes this a group effort. You can even set up Google Alerts and forward email regarding competitors directly to Intellinote.
To forward an email to your Intellinote account. simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org from your registered Intellinote address and your note will be saved to the My Notes section of your Personal Workspace. Include #tag or @”Workspace” in the subject line for organizational purposes. And, if you add “+task” to the subject line, your note becomes a Task within Intellinote.
With this information flowing into Intellinote, you can start tagging notes to organize them by company, convert them to Tasks and assign them to your team members to follow-up on and start Discussions to formulate responses. The ability to convert items between Notes and Tasks, assign to different team members and collaborate on market research in such a way helps you build a complete picture of the competition.
Competition Is Good
Every business needs to respond to competition. Not only does this encourage innovation, it also ensures that appealing directly to customers remains a key focus of your business strategy. If you lose out to a competitor, you can track and manage your response in a Note and follow-up effortlessly using Tasks assigned to team members.
Discussions used to formulate responses to competing campaigns can be useful as references the next time you’re forced to adapt. New team members can instantly be given access to a wealth of knowledge on the very people they will be competing against, and as a company you’re actively watching the competition and building up an increasingly detailed picture.
Imagine you did this over a course of years. Not only would you have a list of your competitor’s strategies over a set period but a living picture of how you respond as a business to such threats. Having access to this material makes it easy to critique your wider strategy, call on successful past decisions or better yet, avoid making the same mistakes twice.
It’s highly unlikely that every member of your organization is going to be able to keep up with all avenues of competition, but you’ll probably want to keep engagement high. By inviting everyone to contribute to the workspace, it’s easy for anyone to note down campaigns, mentions or promotions.
This can be hugely beneficial to your organization, but you can go further. By delegating particular companies or areas of interest to individuals, they can use the Follow tool to stay abreast of these priority items while still contributing to the bigger picture. Items appear in their Unified Workspace under Following, while also being included in email digests.
Making Sense Of Google Drive
Google Drive (formerly Docs) offers a whole suite of real time collaboration tools for word processing, record keeping, data handling, presentations and beyond. The pull of an affordable and proven-capable productivity solution is understandable from a group or business perspective, but that also means Google Drive is an extra platform that you’re going to have to deal with.
The benefits of one of Google’s proudest achievements frequently outweigh the negatives, but the frustrations are still there: a system of organization that relies on folders, comments that appear in-line and are hard to keep track of and the overwhelming feeling of fragmentation as you add another product to your suite of business tools.
Associating these documents with relevant team members and department often involves sharing URLs, “You need permission to access this item” errors and conversations that take place within a document that are difficult to follow and even harder to follow-up on. Intellinote is the contextual glue used to keep your Google Drive documents stuck to their relevant contexts.
Solving The Google Drive Problem
Quite simply, Intellinote provides a context-based UI for your Google Drive content, organising your collaborative documents alongside existing Notes, Tasks and Discussions. You don’t even have to visit Google Drive any more, as your documents will appear in the relevant workspaces, which means you don’t have to deal with Google’s messy system of folders either.
Google Drive also causes problems for users with regards to multiple accounts: unless you’re using a browser with multiple profiles, you’ll have to switch accounts every time you want to access a document. However, if you connect Intellinote to your “work” account, you can access your company documents through it without constantly having to sign out of your personal Google Drive.
Move discussions outside of documents and into the workspace, making them instantly searchable and always available from one location. Create new versions of ideas by downloading and attaching files, overcoming permission issues or duplicate file problems.
The content surrounding your Google Drive documents help provide context, with Tasks and Notes to supporting documents or relevant information sitting alongside your Google spreadsheets and presentations. Discussions take over from in-line comments, making it easy for organization members to share thoughts from within the relevant workspace.
Lastly, if you’re dealing with clients who use other types of files like .DOCX and .PDF, Intellinote makes it possible to keep these resources to hand in the form of attachments on Notes or comments, alongside your own Google documents. Intellinote is designed to keep everything together, in one place.
Get To Work!
While it’s impossible for any product to be good at everything, Intellinote is designed to be simple. That means it’s flexible, and can be adapted for use in all sorts of situations. By creating a straight-forward system of Notes, Tasks and Discussions pinned to multi-use workspaces, it’s possible organize everything; from whole departments to single events.
The trick up Intellinote’s sleeve is organization, which in this context means more than simply moving a few documents to the right place. Try moving your entire work-related discussions out of your inbox and straight into relevant departments. Share files with your superiors by attaching them directly to the Task you were assigned. Rather than sending an email about that mockup or proposal, you’ll realise that commenting directly on the item itself is a more productive way of working.
Once you’ve realised this, the alternatives don’t seem so desirable. Losing time, focus and money by relying on Gmail’s search field is not exactly a business plan.
Free to Try
Whether you’re just starting out in a small startup and want to build your business minus the pitfalls of relying on email for everything, or you’re just finding out how your established organization can benefit from such a system; you can try Intellinote for free (forever) to see if it fits your requirements.
Teams of up to five can create up to ten workspaces with 2 gigabytes of storage per user for file upload purposes. These starter accounts are free forever, and come with full support for Google Drive, mobile access and email integration. For particularly small startups, Intellinote is essentially free. Professional pricing puts Intellinote at $10 per user per month, with 5GB of cloud storage available to each member and the ability to create an unlimited number of workspaces.
Whatever your needs – be it a business or otherwise – Intellinote empowers corporate, technical and creative individuals who need a powerful, collaborative solution to get the job done.
Image credits: PlaceIt