What are two essential building blocks for growing your company healthily and sustainably? A clearly defined goal and a motivated team with the ambition and skills to achieve it. But how can the team and the entire organization best align themselves with the strategic goals of the company? The answer: dedicated business alignment tools. Read more to understand how to achieve successful alignment and everything Workpath offers to ensure the best alignment.
- When a dedicated alignment tool is (not) useful
- Advantages of alignment tools
- What should you look for in an alignment software?
- Alignment software—an overview
- Business alignment tools FAQ
There are plenty of companies, large and small, that struggle to align their strategic priorities and company goals. The challenges often lie in establishing clear communication—for example, there may be uncertainties regarding the best path for alignment or a lack of technical solutions to help make goals clear and transparent. Unclear company growth can also lead to situations in which team members are no longer working towards the same overarching goals. This is easily recognized when, for example, spreadsheets previously used for alignment are not updated regularly or are only updated halfway, and they no longer provide a clear overview of goals and priorities.
In any of these scenarios, a business or team alignment tool can be a great solution. In some cases, collaboration software alone is enough to significantly improve how teams work together.
Either way, taking a closer look at alignment tools can help you discover all possible opportunities and advantages available to your organization.
Tools for organizational alignment have diverse advantages that companies of all sizes and structures can utilize. However, to avoid confusion between alignment software and collaboration tools, distinction between the two should be made.
Collaboration software for companies supports internal teams with their daily collaboration, including communication, task delegation and project management. Asana, Trello and Slack, to name a few well-known tools, are particularly suitable for this.
Business alignment tools help the entire company align strategic goals and resources as well as the priorities that emerge from them. In short, alignment software deals with the big picture, while collaboration tools focus on day-to-day operations.
In the best case scenario, dedicated alignment software can increase a company’s transparency and agility by functioning as the sole source of data and management tool for information regarding strategy, goal and implementation of work processes. This, in turn, leads to improved collaboration between teams from different departments, as all have access to the same information and current status of the company strategy at all times.
It is important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to alignment software. Every company organizes and defines itself and its tasks or goals differently, and, in turn, faces different challenges. That means the requirements for a tool like this change from one company to the next. First and foremost, the software must be able to solve your problem. If the alignment tool does not fit your situation, it is not the right one. Of course, cost also plays a role. What features are available at what cost? Is the price justified? At this point, it is worth investing time in product research to find the perfect offer for your organization.
For companies with no prior experience with alignment software, Workpath offers, among other things, a light version to help make your start as easy as possible. In addition to basic training, those responsible will receive direct access to the intuitive software. Small teams in particular benefit from the light version, as they can easily familiarize themselves with the team alignment tool and grow with it.
Regardless of whether a business alignment tool offers a light version or free trial, and what features or price categories it has, the software should fulfill certain basic requirements. While researching, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the tool offer actionable insights for me and my organization?
- Is the user interface easy enough for all employees to use and understand?
- Are regular updates conducted to keep the tool current?
- Does the tool have a support team I can contact for questions or problems?
- Does the alignment software have a community that I can share experiences with?
To make your research a little easier, we have put together a small overview of some popular alignment and collaboration tools below.
Once again, as a reminder:
Collaboration tools help teams communicate with one another regarding day-to-day operations.
Alignment software functions as a central link for all teams to help in the agile execution of strategic goals.
Relevant collaboration tools and their functions
Asana is a collaboration tool that organizes the work of complete teams in one place. With the Asana App, teams can plan their projects and communicate through the tool, keeping all project information in one central location. Simple and visually-clear operation as well as having a free basic version are big advantages of this project management tool. Costs for the premium and business extensions are also reasonable considering the amount of features included and make for a very compelling price-performance ratio.
Premium: €10.99 per person/per month
Business: €24.99 per person/per month
If your team is looking for a way to ensure clear and easy communication, Slack is one of the first collaboration tools that will be suggested. This instant-messaging service is not designed for private use, but for day-to-day work life in particular. With Slack, fast and easy communication with individual team members or an entire group is just as easy as sending files. The features of this tool could also be seen as a disadvantage, however, as Slack functions solely as a communication tool. Other tools are required for project management. Although, it should be noted that Slack can now integrate with other services. As with Asana, there is also a free version of Slack that is well suited for small teams.
Pro: €6.25 per person/per month
Business+: €11.75 per person/per month
Enterprise Grid: Here you can receive an individual offer from the Slack Sales team.
In the area of collaboration tools, Microsoft also offers a strong software solution. MS Teams is a communication and planning tool for both large and small organizations, containing a chat function, newsfeeds, groups, calendar, video chat and many other features. It is a part of the Microsoft 365 package and, as with the solutions mentioned above, has a free and paid version. MS Teams is a complete solution that helps to organize entire day-to-day operations, which is also its greatest advantage. The disadvantage with MS Teams is the free version is only available for web and not as a desktop version.
Microsoft Teams Essentials: €3.40 per person/per month
Microsoft 365 Business Basic: €4.20 per person/per month
Microsoft 365 Business Standard: €10.50 per person/per month
Relevant alignment tools and their functions
When it comes to tools for organizational alignment, ClearPoint Strategy offers a software solution for project management as well as the creation of scorecards and dashboards. It is mainly used for the key measurement of one’s own goals, actions and initiatives. The web-based tool does not offer a free version, but it can be tested for free.
Basic: starting at $250.00 USD per month
Professional: starting at $800.00 USD per month
Enterprise: Here you can receive an individual offer from ClearPoint Strategy.
Similar to ClearPoint, Cascade Strategy is a software solution used for planning your own company goals. Cascade itself describes the drag-and-drop interface as the heart of the software. With it, everything from planning the vision to the KPIs can be easily and intuitively created. The alignment tool has a 14-day free trial.
Teams: $59.00 USD per person/per month
Enterprise: Here you can receive an individual offer from Cascade Strategy.
It is not possible to talk about organizational alignment without mentioning Workpath. For us, clear and transparent alignment are some of the most important components for achieving set company goals. As a result, alignment is a topic we pay particular attention to.
Plan. Align. Execute. Adapt.
Just as it is simple and easy to describe the possibilities of our strategy execution tool, it is easy to use as well. With Workpath, companies can completely structure and organize their goal management by integrating the OKR framework.
You can learn more about OKR methods here.
In addition, our software solution allows for clear presentation and intuitive management of the entire company strategy. This ensures every team member from the organization knows which goals their own work is impacting at all times.
The Stakeholder function is especially helpful in this case. With this function, goals that your own team supports are presented transparently. It also identifies other goals that have an impact on your own goal setting, preventing duplicate work.
Getting started with the Workpath Light version can be particularly interesting for small companies that want to grow with the tool. An additional advantage: integration with various collaboration tools.
Workpath Light prices:
Software & E-Learning: €99.00 for 1 year
Software & OKR Masterclass: €1,140.00 for 1 year
Software & Private Team Training: €3,500.00 for 1 year
Goal Setting: €7.00 per person/per month
Strategy Navigation: €14.00 per person/per month
Outcome Management: Here you can receive an individual offer from Workpath.
You can learn more about how Workpath supports companies in the alignment process in our article “How OKRs support alignment across teams and hierarchies.”
Alignment or collaboration? Combination is key!
After exploring various collaboration and alignment tools, you may be asking which of the software solutions is the right one for your company. As we said before, it depends on each company’s individual needs and problems. What can be said, however, is the combination of collaboration and alignment offers the best-possible result.
Both collaboration tools and alignment tools have advantages the other one does not. But sometimes, the respective advantages of each tool are needed. In this case, alignment software has the benefit of combining well with collaboration software. Workpath, for example, can be quickly and easily integrated with collaboration tools such as Slack, Asana or even Microsoft Teams. This gives companies opportunities to consolidate their day-to-day work together with overarching strategic goal setting in one place, without hindering workflow.
What are the advantages of alignment solutions?
A dedicated alignment software increases a company’s transparency and agility by functioning as the sole management tool. This leads to improved collaboration between teams from different departments, as all have access to the same status of the company strategy at all times.
What is the difference between alignment and collaboration tools?
Collaboration tools support teams in their daily collaboration with one another. This includes communication, task delegation and project management. Alignment software helps the entire company align strategic goals and resources as well as the priorities that emerge from them.
What alignment and collaboration tools are available?
Available collaboration tools include, among others, Asana, Slack and Microsoft Teams. These software solutions are characterized by communication and organization features. Each solution has different versions that meet the individual needs of the company.
Tools for organizational alignment include, among others, ClearPoint Strategy, Cascade Strategy and Workpath. Among the many advantages that Workpath has, a major benefit is the software solution’s ability to integrate with other systems.
Does it make sense to combine alignment and collaboration tools?
Both collaboration and alignment tools offer a variety of individual advantages. However, these are often limited and cannot solve all problems an organization may have. A combination of both provides better support through transparent communication of the company’s strategic focus. Workpath and Microsoft Teams makes for a very attractive combination of these two types of tools.