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Top 5 Collaboration Tools
With an internet full of collaboration tools, which ones are right for you?
The need to exchange and share ideas is a concept that dates back to
the earliest humans. By nature we strive to acquire and share
knowledge and ideas and by doing this we learned how to collaborate and
solve tasks more easily and effectively. This collaboration was
extremely important in our evolution and in the world of business it is
becoming more and more important as projects become more complex and
workforces become more geographically dispersed.
More and more companies are working on a national or global scale, and the need for their employees to collaborate and communicate is a huge part of remaining competitive with new cutting edge ideas and products. The question that every IT department faces is how they provide tools and processes to make collaboration happen. There are endless tools on the market today that use the term “collaboration” so how would someone decide which tool should be used to get the job done?
The term collaboration means so many things to so many people that
deciding that type of collaboration is required is always a good place
to start. Is it enterprise collaboration where a company needs to
store documents and files, or a small project team of developers
working on the code for a BAS system design? When it comes to
collaboration the size of the organization collaborating matters as
much as the tools that are currently in use by a company.
For the most part collaboration at an enterprise level is driven by email, online conferencing, instant messages, and shared drives / workspaces. These tools are effective, but more often than not they are a little out of sync with each other. A team member downloads a critical email on a home laptop and then goes to work the next day and can’t find the email because it is off the server, or forgets a copy of the new proposal at home on a laptop and never emailed it to a corporate email. These things sound a little ridiculous, but they still happen, and they limit the efficiency intended by collaboration tools.
Microsoft’s answer to enterprise collaboration is its flagship product
Microsoft SharePoint. For those that are not familiar with
SharePoint it is a platform which creates customizable Intranet
environments that act as a single location where a repository of
knowledge is housed so that corporate employees can access the
information needed to complete projects.
SharePoint is a huge platform that includes all the tools required for collaboration, wikis, blogs, libraries, lists, and even email and calendar integration. The problem with SharePoint is that is has always been expensive to purchase and requires IT support to set up, establish, and maintain. Set up correctly SharePoint can be an extremely useful well adopted, but setup poorly and it can be a very cumbersome and poorly adopted tool. SharePoint is still the cornerstone when it comes to enterprise collaboration, but there are many alternative platforms on the market today that provide many of the same features and functionality that SharePoint does, but at only a fraction of the price, and without all the IT support.
My Top Picks- Collaboration tools for any Company
There you have it, my top picks for collaboration tools. There are thousands on the market today and ultimately a company will choose the tools that are easiest to use, and provide the functionality that they need. I have found that most of my clients will choose DropBox for file sharing between small groups and Office 365 for larger team collaboration projects. As I have said when choosing a social media platform, choose the tools that work for you.
I have colleagues who live and breathe SharePoint and can’t imagine a
world without it. I tend to take a more pragmatic approach when
looking at collaboration tools. To me there are many tools in the
tool box, and I tend to choose what I feel is the right tool for the
The way that we choose to collaborate may have changed from paper-based
packages to the digital world, but our need to share information with
others to achieve success in large projects never has. No matter
what tool you choose, the choice to collaborate is always the correct
first step for success.
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