Best Collaboration Tools for Your End Users
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, August 7, 2017 11:00
At one time, if you wanted to chat with a coworker, you simply stood and walked a few steps or scheduled a nine a.m. meeting.
But today's workforces don't limit themselves to an office. They may work from home or while on the road, checking email and updating files around the clock.
For I.T. teams, this means supporting third-party software that runs both on computers and mobile devices.
In addition to supporting that software, however, you're likely also tasked with recommending it. When a manager wants to know the best tool to use for a new project, chances are that manager will come to someone on your team to ask for suggestions. These days, I.T. professionals increasingly find themselves recommending and deploying solutions that will make it easier for professionals to communicate and collaborate throughout the day without having to actually meet face to face. Here are a few collaboration tools that should be on your radar in case you're asked to make a recommendation.
Slack has been the rock star of the collaboration tool market for a while, billing itself as "the email killer." Due to its popularity, it may be the best tool for businesses that want access to a wide variety of features and integrations. If someone's developing a business app, chances are they're considering building Slack integration in. Slack makes it easy to drag and drop files, chat with coworkers, and even set up private rooms for smaller groups to work on a project.
This new kid on the block has rapidly grown in popularity, due in large part to its easy integration with the Microsoft Office suite of tools. Microsoft Teams doesn't have as much functionality as Slack, but its easy setup and built-in access to SharePoint, OneNote, and Skype for Business, along with the Office suite of products, makes it a winner with admins. Perhaps the biggest benefit for IT teams is that the feature can be unlocked by simply making a slight adjustment in your 365 Admin Center.
HipChat is popular for teams that are most concerned about interacting with each other. Using this tool, your end users can launch a video, audio, or text-based chat and even share their screens with each other. This solution is ideal for remote teams that need to collaborate on projects throughout the day, but many workers prefer it to setting aside time for an in-person meeting even when they are in an office. HipChat has one advantage over the other solutions in that it offers a free plan for businesses that don't need more advanced features. This also could give your I.T. team an opportunity to try it out before recommending it to others.
Collaboration software can boost employee productivity and improve a business's overall bottom line. For tech teams, it's important to be aware of the various options and what this software can do in order to advise end users and company leaders. When you're aware of the many benefits this software can bring, you can also raise your value as a tech leader in a company, since you're helping the business end of things, as well as strengthening the technology infrastructure.