Tips on Choosing the Right Collaboration SoftwareDonna Marie Padua
It is clear that modern team collaboration software is slowly but surely killing off email and other communication methods.
While many people still use email at work, the rise of global teams, home working and remote offices means that companies are turning to team collaboration software more and more now. Indeed, this market is predicted to grow into a massive $8.5 billion industry by 2024.
There are some fairly simple reasons for this growing trend. For instance, the right type of software can allow a geographically dispersed team to work together as though they were in the same room, to share ideas and to track changes effortlessly.
However, there are some key elements that you should take into account before making your decision on which option to proceed with. By considering which of these points are most important for your business you should make the task of choosing the right one a lot easier.
Make Sure It Offers Real-Time Collaboration
If the software that your team uses doesn’t provide real-time collaboration then this could cause more problems than it solves. Just imagine the chaos that could ensue if several team members all amend the same document at the same time?
By opting for real-time collaboration you can make sure that everyone can do their job without causing confusion over what is the last, correct change. It will also mean that everyone can access the same documents at the same time without any hassle.
Explore the Range of Communication Options Provided
How do you need the people who use this software to be able to communicate with each other? Various surveys have shown the vast importance of having employees who are connected and able to freely communicate with each other. Obviously, the more flexibility you can give them the better.
They might need to carry out a group review of a document or they might want to carry out a private chat between just two of them. Either way, it is important that the people who use the tool have a reliable way of getting in touch with each other.
Make Sure You Can Share Files Easily
Of course, it is also vital that your team can share the files that they work with very easily. This should be something that is done automatically so that there is no need to even think about it when a new file is created. Figures from the end of 2015 show that around 39% of corporate data uploaded to the cloud relates to file sharing and this figure is expected to keep on growing.
It is also worth bearing in mind that you will probably need to use different types of file during your projects. Therefore, you need to be sure that you choose software that can handle whatever it is that you plan to do.
Find Out How to Schedule Tasks
A wonderful benefit of the best team collaboration software is that you can use it to schedule tasks too. This makes it a lot easier to keep a project on track and make sure that everyone knows what is coming up next.
This proves to be invaluable when the going gets tough on a complex project and the target seems to be moving on a daily basis. Being able to schedule tasks quickly and effortlessly will free up a lot of time without causing you any extra work in the process.
Find One That Is Easy to Get Started With
You probably don’t want to lose a lot of time getting the team trained on your new software, do you? No matter how much time this saves you in the long run, it can be a real hassle to get a number of people trained on something new.
Determine which applications or solutions you really need and how you will use them.
Before buying collaboration software, it is crucial that you fully understand the needs of your business. Sometimes, businesses buy software with the widest array of features, but forgetting how these features can actually solve their problems. The collaboration tool you need should depend on the needs of your business or team; thus, the tools you need may be different from those used by other businesses.
So evaluate first the needs of your business or your organization and check how the collaboration tools can address your needs. Maybe your problem is that not everyone in your team is kept abreast on the project’s latest developments; a document-sharing application that allows the team to see and edit the most recent document version may provide a solution. Or maybe you want to hold a meeting but some of the staff are in the field or in another time zone; a video or audio conference application can be useful.
What is your current IT infrastructure?
Ideally, your organization’s new collaboration tools should be able to easily integrate into your existing IT infrastructure. There are many popular suites that are designed to do just that, working directly with not CRM systems, ERP solutions, and general office products.
What document auditing and processes is needed?
Document auditing should be part of your overall plan. This involves cleaning up hard drives and migrating important and useful files to your platform. This plan should include the methodical process for the move, the list of documents which should be labeled as still working and archiving of those which are already finalized. Out with the email-driven processes like document sharing and editing and in with cloud storing and real-time revisions. Including this in the plan of your organization will help streamline the process of document viewing, editing, publishing and distributing.
What level of mobility and accessibility will you offer?
Mobility and accessibility is one of the key reasons for implementing a collaboration tools. It is recommended that you document processes for users. When users are obtaining remote access to the platform, they will feel confident that they know how to complete a process.
Microsoft Collaboration Tool
Microsoft launched Teams as its own take on the booming market for group messaging apps led by Slack and now also fought over by Google, Facebook and Cisco, to name but a few.
As with all team chat tools, the core aim of Microsoft Teams is to connect staff and enhance collaboration, providing an alternative to – or even replacing – email communications. Think of it as a “digital translation of an open office space,” as a Microsoft spokesperson put it.
While Microsoft has effectively been playing catch up with Slack, it has quickly positioned Teams as the central hub for communications and collaboration within Office 365 – as evidenced by the decision to replace Skype for Business with Teams.
In fact, it may have already caught up with its rival: a survey report from Spiceworks indicated that Teams is now more widely used than Slack and is set for faster growth over the next two years.
Microsoft’s long-standing presence in the workplace with its Office suite, Office 365 suite (and of course, Windows) gives it a solid foundation to grow in the collaboration marketplace – and the overall market is very much booming.
Online collaboration platforms give an organization an extremely powerful method of consolidating employee communications and helping them in collaborating with others. By investing in collaborative tools, organizations are able to improve upon all levels of their productivity and efficiency — and therefore improve upon their bottom line.