In our modern business world, having access to the right team collaboration software and business communication tools can be the difference between developing a competitive advantage and falling behind the competition.
Why is enabling effective team collaboration so important? What software programs, tools, and apps does your business need to stay relevant, and even get ahead of the curve? Let’s explore the rise of team collaboration and uncover the tools you simply can’t live without for modern business success.
The Rise of Team Collaboration
Back in the day, technology and modern communication tools weren’t as intertwined into every aspect of business. For many companies, this meant they were limited as to where they could do business. Now, we live in a hyper-connected world where organizations can easily and immediately connect with consumers and other businesses around the globe.
This hasn’t just changed where businesses can operate—it has changed how they operate as well. One of the most noticeable and major changes is the transformation from a stuffy, strict workforce into a more social, flexible, and collaborative one. Thanks to modern technology that has led to the rise of remote work, we no longer have to be face-to-face or even in the same office to connect with our team members.
So, while “collaborating” once meant every employee in the office physically sitting around a whiteboard in a boardroom, it now means chatting through collaboration apps or hopping on a video conference with a coworker that could be halfway across the world. In fact, 83% of professionals today rely on technology to connect with their teams.
Technology is now at the heart of modern business collaboration. Why? It’s more convenient, it gives us access to nearly endless knowledge, and with so many remote workers and virtual teams, it’s just plain essential to keep business moving forward.
The Team Collaboration Software and Tools You Need in Your Modern Business
If modern businesses want to stay secure and efficient, have a global presence, and keep their remote workers connected, they need to be leveraging the right communication and collaboration tools. So, here are some top picks for the online collaboration tools your business can’t (or shouldn't!) live without.
Business Communication Tools
1. Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts, Google’s IM service, offers voice and video calling to users as well as individual and group chatting. Within chats, users can also securely share files and send interactive gifs and stickers for more fun collaboration. Plus, since it’s fully integrated with G Suite, employees can conveniently join audio and video meetings directly from a Calendar event or email invite.
Flock is a communication tool that reduces the need for emails by organizing all of your conversations, productivity tools, and apps in one place. You can create both private channels for one-on-one discussions or public ones for larger teams. Plus, you can add vendors or business partners as guests and specify the chats and channels they can access. This way, you can collaborate without third-party platforms or the need to give them full access to your chat platform. Through Flock, team members can also join a video call directly from a chat or channel, share their screen, and drag and drop files into messages for easy sharing and collaboration.
Slack is a communication app that creates “channels” which can be segmented by team, project, client, etc. Team members can join and leave a channel as it applies to them (unlike lengthy email chains) and respond to threads that keep side conversations from distracting everyone in the channel. You can also search for specific messages, and even if you archive or leave a channel, its contents are still searchable for future reference. Slack channels can also be integrated with other software such as Salesforce and Zendesk to keep track of important alerts.
Flowdock is a group and private chat platform which aggregates notifications from other channels, such as your social media accounts, project management systems, and customer support tools. Within a team “Flow,” conversations are organized by threads which team members can reply to individually to keep topics organized. Conversations are also color coded so that topics that are relevant to certain employees but not others can quickly be identified.
Task Management Tools
Asana allows you to create tasks with priorities, deadlines, and details that can be assigned and moved from one employee to another with ease. This way, team members will know when it is time for them to contribute—minus any guesswork or miscommunications. Plus, with the ability to add followers to tasks, managers and team leaders can monitor the big picture status of individual tasks within a larger project without having to track down and micromanage each employee.
ProofHub allows you to organize files, plan and monitor projects, and leave comments on tasks so everyone involved is on the same page. You can also review and approve files directly through the platform with an online proofing tool. Instead of everything being visible to everyone, ProofHub allows managers to control who can access what and create clear workflows with defined stages so each team member knows which parts of a project are their responsibility.
Jira is a project management tool specifically designed for agile teams. With customizable boards, employees can move tasks between “lanes” so that all team members have full visibility into what everyone is working on, the status of projects, and what is coming next. Plus, Jira’s agile reporting capabilities give you access to dozens of out-of-the-box reports with real-time, actionable insights that can help you improve future productivity.
With Trello, you can create boards, lists, and cards that allow you to organize and prioritize tasks in a flexible and interactive way. Then, you can add comments, attachments, due dates, and more directly into the cards, and integrate the apps your team already uses directly into your workflow. Plus, Trello stays in sync across all of your devices, so remote employees can login from any device on-the-go and still have access to the messages and files they need to get their job done.
1. Google Docs
Google Docs allows every employee to access, create, edit, and save documents from any location and device—even when there's no internet connection (with offline editing that syncs once a connection is made). With the ability to add edits, comments, and suggestions in real-time, collaborating on a document and giving approvals becomes simple. There’s no need for endless email chains, downloading and sending documents back and forth between employees, or waiting for edits to be acknowledged and accepted in a thread of endless emails.
GoToMeeting is an online meeting, desktop sharing, and video conferencing software package. It allows users to hold audio or video meetings with up to 50 attendees at one time, whether they’re coworkers, customers, or clients. Through GoToMeetng, you can launch meetings directly from the business apps that you already use, including email, CRM, and messaging tools. Plus, with a smart meeting assistant tool, you can receive automatic transcripts of recorded meetings that can be easily searched and shared.
Owned by Salesforce, Quip started as a mobile collaboration app and has since released a desktop version. Through Quip, teams can import files and work on them in-real time with automatic saving. Plus, with chat capabilities, employees can easily message back and forth about a document they’re working on together. A checklist feature even allows employees to check off steps in a project so everyone is on the same page about what has been completed and what needs to be done next.
4. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams enables cross team collaboration with real-time access to files through built-in Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint. This allows multiple employees to make edits and comments at the same time, and decision-makers to quickly give approvals so that a project can continue moving forward. Plus, with group chat, audio calling, and web conferencing capabilities, employees can brainstorm and work together without having to leave the Teams platform and use a third-party app.
Which Team Collaboration Tools Are Right for Your Business?
The team collaboration software and tools you choose to implement in your business will depend on a variety of factors. Your company size, industry, budget, and the kinds of software and apps you currently use that will need to be integrated all play a factor. It’s important to make this decision based on your individual needs and processes rather than general trends as no software is one-size fits all. If you’re not sure which team collaboration tools are the right match, reaching out to experts can be helpful when determining and carrying out your software strategy!
At Protected Trust, we want to simplify technology and provide businesses with the team collaboration tools they need for success, and this vision of a modern digital workplace is built on an ecosystem of Microsoft Teams and the Microsoft 365 platform.
If you’re ready to learn about the benefits of utilizing Microsoft hardware and collaboration tools in your business, reach out to a PT expert today!