By: Katie Johns
Since collaboration is a high priority in enterprises today, there seems to be a number of tools that support it. Unfortunately, it’s not a case of one size fits all. There’s a common conflict between different departments. What works for the marketing team may not work for the development team, and what works for the customer support team may not work for the marketing team. All of the departments use collaboration in different ways. It’s become overwhelming to select the most suitable collaboration tool for your business needs.
Mobile apps, social media and virtual teams has changed the way we used to collaborate. Decision makers often find themselves in a tizzy when it comes to finding that perfect fit for their needs.
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We will try to help.
How has it evolved?
Lotus Notes (which is now known as IBM Notes) was quite a popular yet boring tool. It relied on emails as a mode of communication. That was not only a drab but also slow. Then came blogs and wikis. So people started to share content in a faster and more effective way. Social collaboration is the newest way, which has been incorporated in collaboration suites since the past few years.
Trello, Asana, Workfront and various other similar apps have made collaborative task management and project management much easier. There are tools like Slack too, which offer video chatting with team members.
Which is the best of the breed?
Experts say that most of the enterprises tend to use a combination of tools to support document collaboration, lead generation, enterprise collaboration, team messaging, and unified communications. One of the most important factors for small and mid-sized businesses to consider is APIs and interoperability for supporting a large ecosystem of third-party tools. The collaborative landscape is set to grow at $8.5 billion by 2024.
When it comes to enterprise collaboration, the choice is usually between Microsoft suite – Office 365, SharePoint and Skype for Business, IBM’s Collaboration Solutions, Spark and related collaboration software from Cisco and G Suite of Google. The entire world seems to be adopting Slack lately. We can’t discount Workplace by Facebook that can prove to be the market leader soon.
How can you choose the right collaboration tool?
We have a collated a list of 5 tips that we think can help you find the right collaboration tool for your business.
- Consider the business challenges
You might get impressed with technology but you must consider the business challenges first. Is your sales team facing a challenge to sell or you wish to enhance the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns with the collaboration tool.
Every time you short list a tool, you must consider the challenges it will solve.
2. Go with the user choice
If majority of the team members use a particular and are excited about it, chances are that majority of the team will use it. You must go with the popular choice of the tool to make a collaborative tool work.
3. Consider the security features
You just cannot overlook the security feature and admin controls of a new software. Does the chat tool come with a complete encryption? Does it offer multilevel authentication? These are some of the critical questions that you need to address. Integration with Active Directory is also important.
4. Consider the total cost of ownership (TCO)
You must ask questions like the new infrastructure that is required to support the new tool. Will the network be sufficient to provide the required bandwidth? What will the user troubleshooting cost? What will be the cost of user training?
5. Interoperability and compatibility are critical
Will the collaborative software easily work with other software systems within the organization? It will not be useful to have multiple solutions that don’t interoperate completely. It has become absolutely critical for the software to be accessible on mobiles so don’t miss that feature.
Collaboration is inevitable. As Henry Ford quoted, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
If you wish to speak to an expert to help you decide on the most suitable collaboration tool for your business need, we are just a call or email away.