Tip # 5 – Notion, the all-in-one collaborative platform to manage your workspace
As experts in digital solutions and collaborative tools, Inovae has decided to share its experience and give you its tips on the tools that can make you more efficient. Today, we will discuss the app Notion, which allows you to build a tailor-made digital work environment.
If the spread of the coronavirus has had negative consequences for many companies, some have done well and Notion is one of them. With more and more people working remotely, new client signups have reached a new high for this start-up that provides tools to organise and track one's work.
The company was born in 2013 in San Francisco, created by Ivan Zhao and Simon Last and the first version of Notion was released in March 2018. Originally, Notion was a popular tool for the Startup community, students and small businesses. but today it is used by all kinds of organisations that appreciate the creative freedom offered by the platform. Notion now has more than 4 million users around the world with customers such as Samsung, Nike or Mc Donald's.
So, what exactly is Notion ?
Notion is an all-in-one collaborative application that brings together, on a single platform, everything a modern business needs to get organised: note-taking, document management and sharing, project management, task tracking and relational databases.
The platform makes it possible to efficiently combine text such as note-taking or word processing software (Word, Evernote), project management tables (Trello, Asana), databases (Excel, Airtable, Google Sheets) and easily make links between all these data to organise them. Notion also allows you to store and share all types of documents (PDF, Powerpoint, Drive, ...).
Capture, sort and organise ideas
Depending on your issues, you can very well consider Notion as:
- a shared knowledge base
- an intranet
- a project management tool
- a writing software
- a note-taking app
- a wiki
- a spreadsheet
- a documentation tool
- a database
- and of course, all at the same time!
In fact, Notion allows you to create a page that will allow you to integrate all these different data according to your needs (text, files, images, database…). Each page can integrate other pages (without limits in the tree structure). And this data is accessible in different ways: by search, obviously, but above all by different views accessible for databases, with way of sorting that you will define. The same database can be displayed on different pages, or several times on the same page, with totally different sorts/views, to highlight the necessary data.
Create collaborative workspaces
Notion allows collaborative management, with access rights managed page by page if necessary, the ability to share a page with guests but also to create web pages to make data accessible to people outside your organisation. The tool also integrates a team communication system like in a Google Doc. You can leave comments to your colleagues who will receive a notification to contribute to the project and if several people are working on the same document, the "Page History" function allows you to track the actions and see the changes.
Why we like Notion!
At Inovae, we have been using the Confluence platform for 3 years to manage our documentation. At the same time, at the start of the year, we launched the pilot project with Notion for our communication, marketing and sales activities. These tools allow us to centralise our information, optimise our way of working as a team and thus, save on time and efficiency.
As much for companies as for individuals, the most important advantage of Notion is its total freedom of creation. The ambitious challenge that the start-up has launched is to allow non-developers to create their own applications. One of their slogans describes this freedom well:
‘Solve your problems your way, bounded only by your imagination.’
Indeed, the tool is made of blocks and pages that fit together in a Lego style to create all kinds of custom systems. This modular approach leaves you free to decide how to structure knowledge. An element (paragraph, title, quote, bullet point, page, etc.) can instantly switch from one format to another. Lines of text can become pages, titles, check boxes, elements of a Kanban board or a denser database. There is no limit to the level of indentation, you can create as many subpages as you want: the flexibility is endless.
We were therefore able to build our own workspace meeting the specific needs of the agency. And this space can easily be reorganised according to developments, which makes it alive and always in line with the organisation.
In addition, this great flexibility is accompanied by an elegant and clean design that makes the platform very pleasant to use.
Another point that we particularly like are the team collaboration features. Working from home is common practice with us; Notion allows us to centralise our data, but above all to optimise our exchanges thanks to its collaborative online editing features. Being able to edit a document with several people at the same time and see what others are doing live is definitely an asset.
For the anecdote, this article was written, reread and validated on Notion
Tutorials and a community to help get started
Notion offers many ready-made templates (to-do list, roadmap, meeting notes, gallery, moodboard, etc.) to import into your space and adapt according to your needs. There are also a lot of presentations and tutorials on the web, made by the Notion community, to help you.
A price according to your needs
Notion has a free version, ideal for testing the tool with the creation of 1000 blocks. Then there are 3 pricing plans that range from $ 4/month (personal plan) to $ 20/month (business plan).
We can help you integrate Notion into your business
The integration of a new digital tool is always accompanied by organisational changes. The formal organisational structures and the informal culture must be known and adapted to take advantage of the new tool and ensure its sustainability.
In the case of Notion, whose objective is to create a tailor-made digital workspace, the issue of upstream thinking to structure the project (objectives, needs, challenges, etc.) is paramount. The possibilities of the tool are so extensive that its implementation and mastery require preparation and adaptation time before reaping the full benefits.
As specialists in digital transformation, Inovae can support you in the different stages of implementing a Notion platform. Contact our experts to discuss it.
The New York Times devoted a beautiful article to the platform in spring 2020: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/technology/notion-startup-fund-raising.html/