Imagine working on a new product launch where the designers are in Seattle, the engineers are in Chicago, and the marketing team is in New York. Getting everyone on the same page and making sure they have access to the latest files can be challenging given their locations and time changes.
Thanks to online collaboration software and its ability to help manage workflow and provide the most recent version of files in real-time, work can get done any time of the day.
Does the prospect of choosing a collaboration suite seem unusually daunting? That’s because for many people, it is.
Picking the right collaboration suite or stack isn’t just challenging — it’s critically important. Nearly seven out of 10 IT professionals say collaboration is a high priority or is essential to their organization, according to a recent Spiceworks survey commissioned by videoconferencing provider Lifesize.
Here’s what you need to know to pick a collaboration suite or tool set.
Taking a cue from Facebook and Twitter, startups such as Jive, Yammer and SocialCast began offering social networking-like collaboration tools for enterprises about six to eight years ago. Before long, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, SAP and others followed suit in their collaboration suites.
From there, enterprise collaboration evolved, thanks to file-sharing startups, including Box and Dropbox; project management services such as Trello, Asana, Wrike and Workfront; and a new generation of collaboration apps and services, most notably Slack and HipChat, that incorporate messaging, video chat, file sharing and other tools.
As with any technology acquisition, the choice of collaboration software should follow a disciplined process:
- Focus on the problem, not the technology
- Avoid jumping on the latest ‘buzzy’ tool
- Go with tools users love
- Investigate the security features
- Integration with tools such as Active Directory can help.
- Be clear on the total cost of ownership (TCO)
- Ensure interoperability and compatibility
- Make a checklist of features
We have several locations ourselves and we use Sales Force and a coupl of the other software tools. It is an efficient way of working together where we can each see what the other is up to and not duplicate our efforts, or skip important tasks that need to be completed before progress is made.