Owning a company requires your full attention. Not only do you need to monitor the productivity of your business. You also need to track the performance of your team. However, it’s hard to do all these things, especially if your teammates live in different places. In times like this, you need to get an online collaboration tool.
Nowadays, many industries are now using this software due to the benefits it provides. For one, this solution enables the team to work together, despite geographical locations. Another advantage is the opportunity to finish the project fast. Lastly, it offers constant communication.
There are many companies dedicated to providing top online collaboration tools. These firms offer different types of collaboration services, ranging from instant messaging to monitoring the development of the project. For this reason, it’s quite hard to select the best online collaboration tools.
Look no further as this article will give you tips for choosing the right collaboration software. Furthermore, you’ll also learn the types of collaboration solutions that exist. But first, you need to know what it is and its purposes.
What Is Collaboration Software?
Collaboration means an act of working with someone to achieve something. Hence, collaboration software is an online application that promotes collaboration. It enables the team to work on a project together to achieve a common goal.
However, collaboration isn’t just the primary reason why businesses use online collaboration project tools. You need to have constant communication with your teammates to keep them updated. Hence, it needs to have chat support, email messaging, and discussion threads to talk to them.
Apart from that, it should have features that allow you to share files with your group mates. That way, you don’t need to send a single document one-by-one.
Moreover, it should enable you and your team to work togetheron information. For instance, one of your clients sent you a project that you need to work on before the deadline. The online collaboration task management tool should let you assign a job to every member. Doing this will help the team get their work done.
Lastly, it should allow you to monitor the productivity and performance of your team members. That way, you can see the development of the project.
In other words, if an app can do these things, then you can call it as an online collaboration tool.
Types of Collaboration Software That Exist
Online collaboration software comes in different types. The type depends on the purpose of the tool. To know which one you should select, here are your choices:
For Communication and Presentation
For executivesandpublic speakers, you can use the following online collaboration and communication tools:
- Conference Calls – It’s a tool that connects several users using one phone line. An example of this solution is Freeconferencecall.com.
- Video Conferencing – It’s a type of conference call that uses a webcam. It allows the user to see the other party. An example of this tool is WebEx.
- Online Conferencing – It’s another form of conference calls. This software lets you share screens, slides, documents, and videos to another person. GoToMeeting and WebEx are examples of this service.
For Information Sharing
For businesses that involve information sharing, you can use the following tools:
- Email Discussion Lists – This app helps users send a file to a group. Hence, you don’t need to send the same document one-by-one.
- Social Media Services – Sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, let you create profiles and connect with your team. Furthermore, these websites let you share files and talk to people using web conferencing.
- Collaborative Documents – It’s an online document collaboration tool that allows authorized users and members to share and edit files online. An example of this solution is Google Docs.
- Message Board – It’s a forum that concentrates on Q&As. An example of this tool is vBulletin.
For Longer-Term Collaborations
These tools are for longer-term projects. However, you need to learn how to setup and use this software before sharing it with your teammates. Nonetheless, it provides more functionality than previous types.
- Online Project Management Tools – It enables users to share files, tasks, calendars, and conversations with their group. Basecamp and Central Desktop are examples of this tool.
- Online Community – It’s an online app that lets users share calendars, files, message boards and more. Ning is one of such services that permit you to do these things.
How to Choose the Right Collaboration Software
There are many collaboration tools available online. However, you should never pick a software based on the SEO ranking. Granted that they get the top rankings, you still need to do some research before getting their services. Otherwise, you might end up with the wrong company.
The following are things you should do when selecting a collaboration tool for your business.
Analyze Your Business’ and Employees’ Needs.
One of the biggest mistakes made by buyers is choosing a tool that has the latest innovations. We are dazzled by the features of a service. We tend to forget the needs of our business and our employees. Hence, we usually get a software that provides features that we don’t need.
When choosing a collaboration solution, make sure it addresses the needs of your business. Know what your company needs, as well as your employees. From there, read some reviews of online collaboration tools. It will give you an idea of what features that the software has. Furthermore, it will tell you the quality of the app.
Compare Collaboration Solutions According to Functionalities, Features, and Price.
When selecting an app, you need to list all the services you see on the Internet. Write the tool that gets your attention. You also need to list down their features and specs. Compare each product to narrow down your list. Make sure that the software you choose has the features that your business needs.
Apart from that, you need to ensure that the software is compatible with your Internet Service Provider and operating system. Otherwise, the tool won’t function as it supposed to be.
Know How Much You Need to Spend For Training Your Employees.
Collaboration tools come at different prices. The rate depends on the complexity of the software. Simple online collaboration tools are usually the cheapest. Most of the time, you can get them for free.
Those that have sophisticated features are the expensive ones. Hence, developers need to conduct training sessions to users and employees. That way, they won’t face any problem once they start using the software.
When getting a complicated collaboration software, make sure you know how much you need to spend for the exercise. You may ask the developer before buying the product to avoid spending too much. Stick to your budget and choose a collaboration service from that range.
Check the Background of the Developer and the Distributor of the Software.
There are many collaboration tool developers and vendors on the market. All of them claim that they offer top online collaboration tools. You should never believe in those claims! It’s their way to entice people to get their products.
To ensure that you get the right app, you need to know the credibility of the tool’s creators and distributors. Look for reviews of online collaboration tools and read it. These articles will tell you whether or not it’s worth purchasing.
Collaboration software has become a critical tool in running a business. It improves the productivity and overall workflow of the company. Furthermore, it empowers employees to do their best. However, it’s quite hard to choose the right solution due to the number of choices you have.
Nonetheless, you can still get a collaboration service that fits your needs. You just need to consider the product’s features, cost, and reliability of the product.
When choosing an online collaboration app, make sure that it provides the necessary features. It should have specs that will let you communicate with your team and share documents with your teammates. Moreover, it should have features that will enable you to monitor the development of the project. That way, you will know if your employees are working on their tasks or not.
You should also need to consider the cost. Some collaboration tools are expensive. Others are budget-friendly. When getting this software, make sure that the tool fits your budget.
Generally speaking, those apps that offer fundamental features are the cheapest. Sometimes, they are for free. Those that have sophisticated specs are usually expensive. It’s because these applications provide a full function of the collaborative software. They also have training sessions on how to use it.
Lastly, you need to do a background check on the developer and distributor of the product. There are different ways of knowing the quality and reliability of the software. You may visit review sites to know what customers have to say about a particular service. You can also go to online forums and read the threads.
There are websites specifically made for providing collaboration software reviews. If you’re looking for real, honest reviews, then CrowdReviews is the right choice. It not only provides a list of the best products on the market. It also has reviews for each product or service on the list.
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