Online Collaboration

When your business requires you to travel, to manage remote teams, or to keep track of many projects at once, it’s of the utmost importance to find efficient collaboration tools so your team can stay in touch and do their best work. The market has plenty of choices when it comes to collaboration software, so any team can build their own perfect solution from a wide range of different communication, file sharing, and project management tools. As you evaluate each category of tools we describe below, consider how they'd align with your team's work style to fit into your natural processes for organic collaboration.

Online Communication Tools OnlineCollab_Icon_Communication.png

According to research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity improves by 20 to 25% in organizations with connected employees.1 Today, connection can happen even when employees aren’t in the same phsical space. Utilizing social technologies for communication has the capability to raise your bottom line.2 Imagine a situation where an employee needs quick approval to continue progress on a project. When they can send a chat message instead of crossing an office and dealing with small talk, they save time and increase productivity.

Nearly 88% of enterprises currently use public cloud technologies like Google Drive for file sharing.

When your team is communicating using software, it’s important for conversations to be able to still flow organically in real time. Online collaboration tools like Slack and HipChat make communication efficient. Slack gives teams the opportunity to create different channels for communication about different topics. These channels can be public or private, so you can develop the level of transparency appropriate for your company on a project by project basis. Individuals from outside your organization can also be added to these channels to enable easy communication with vendors or partners. If you need a tool for mobile and desktop, some users find Slack more intuitive on the go than at the desk.3

HipChat was initially developed to work on desktops and laptops, but has transitioned to mobile too. It’s compatible with all device types, making it convenient for remote teams who might have individual specific technology preferences. If your team values security, then HipChat’s policy of encrypting shared data will set your mind at ease. Everything shared on HipChat is protected with the same protocol as online banks.4

Online File Sharing Tools OnlineCollab_Icon_FileShare.png

In today's workplace, efficient technology must facilitate the sharing of documents as well as it does communication. Most companies are adapting to this workflow, with nearly 88% of enterprises currently using public cloud technologies like Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing.5 Basic cloud-based solutions like these make remote sharing easy, but user friendly tools like SHAREit and Quip make communication barriers like working remotely, traveling, or even just a large office building easier than ever to overcome.

According to research conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute, productivity improves by 20 to 25% in organizations with connected employees.

SHAREit is a simple solution for high-speed file sharing. With this tool, your team can share documents and videos quickly and securely. SHAREit’s service is encrypted and compatible for sharing between computers and mobile devices, regardless of if the devices run on iOS or Android.

If you need more service than filesharing alone, Quip might be your best bet. Quip’s attention to integration means innovations like a chat option built into spreadsheets so employees can work and communicate in the same document in a streaming format, rather than by making individual comments. These features mean this tool is especially beneficial for managing interdepartmental projects.

While both services do have mobile applications, they offer so much variety of service that simply using the mobile application will not reap all of the benefits of each platform. If you need a more mobile compatible solution for file sharing, Google Drive is simple to use, and included with plenty of storage in any Google Apps subscription.

OnlineCollab_Diagram_800px.png

Online Project Management Tools ONnlineCollab_Icon_ProjMgmt.png

If you’re looking for comprehensive project management software to better focus your team’s efforts, applications like Podio and Asana allow users to track and manage individual projects and the associated documents clearly and concisely. Using Podio, teams can create custom interfaces and workspaces by integrating widgets like calendars and task trackers. There’s also the capability to integrate with file sharing services like Google Drive, and every file is linked to a particular task, in a particular workspace, making Podio very easy to navigate. Although a mobile application exists for Podio, users won’t get the most out of the product by only using the mobile application.

Asana, on the other hand, is simple to use on mobile and very well-rated. The application offers unique features like built-in status reports for each project, and without having to integrate widgets, users can turn conversations into actionable tasks and make the most of their time. Podio and Asana both offer security and transparency to upper level management, and user-friendliness and customization to teams.

When you take the time to thoughtfully choose the right solutions for your business, the reward is increased efficiency, better communication, and a solid foundation for building better teams. Start with this list, and conduct your own review of the marketplace to get a good feel for what’s possible in mapping your internal processes to your ideal collaboration software lineup. Whether you need mobile or desktop-based solutions, there’s an online collaboration tool suite that can streamline your workflow, save your time, and ultimately improve your bottom line.

1  http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/the-social-economy

2  http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/7-technologies-companies-are-using-increase-their-profits

3  https://slackhq.com/expanding-the-mobile-possibilities-in-slack-4affd2a45c06

4  https://confluence.atlassian.com/hipchatkb/security-of-hipchat-755337914.html

5  http://www.cio.com/article/3018156/cloud-computing/cloud-adoption-soars-but-integration-challenges-remain.html