What is Collaboration Software & Why Your Organization Needs it?
Every business wants to be successful and to make that happen the people working towards that goal need to be effective and efficient in their work. Nowadays, the market is flooded with tools promising to simplify your employees’ work processes and achieve that. But do they really?
According to a Tuesday report from Pegasystems Inc., employees switch between 35 different job-critical applications more than 1,100 times every day! How many applications does your team use?
Ineffective software and inefficient processes are impacting the productivity of each team and to avoid that many businesses are seeking help in collaboration software. But is that the best solution for your team and needs?
In this article, we’ll answer the question of what collaboration software is, cover the differences between all-in-one and a point solution, go through details about how online collaboration tools work, the most common collaboration software features, how can collaboration tools lead to productive teamwork, and finally list down the things that you should consider when choosing collaboration tool for your team and needs.
Table of contents:
- What is collaboration software?
- How do all-in-one online collaboration tools work?
- How do point solution online collaboration tools work?
- All-in-one VS Point solution collaboration tool
- All-in-one collaboration software key features
- Why do companies use online collaborative productivity software?
- How can all-in-one online collaboration tools lead to productive teamwork?
- What should I consider when choosing a collaboration tool?
What is collaboration software?
Collaboration software is software designed to help teams be more productive and work more efficiently by enabling them to collaborate on a single platform.
The history of the traditional collaboration software starter more than 30 years ago when companies began forming their IT departments and needed to piece together products from various vendors to get the full range of functionalities needed to perform their job. At that time, collaboration software has been a single solution for the team’s single-use case whether that has been task management, data, or chatting.
Fast forward to the technologically advanced present, these types of collaboration software called point solutions still exist but have been long outperformed by the all-in-one collaboration solutions.
The all-in-one collaboration software is designed to help teams be more productive and work more efficiently by enabling them to share, manage documents, files, and other types of data, and work together on projects and tasks from any location and any device.
The all-in-one collaboration software is a fantastic tool for every existing team, but most specifically for agile teams and any team that works remotely.
How do all-in-one online collaboration tools work?
Online collaboration tools help teams communicate and collaborate seamlessly around tasks and projects and make it easier to use an array of other productivity tools from a single platform. Collaboration software eliminates the need to switch between different apps, waste time, and interrupt your workflow by making it possible to stay within the same tool to get work done.
It also resolves the chaos of having files hosted in different services and apps and having to search through long lists to find critical information by allowing users to have everything in one place from where anyone can access everything that they need to complete their tasks.
Another way of how online collaboration tools work is that they keep all internal communication under the same roof. Forget about searching for messages in your inbox and chat apps again because online collaboration tools keep your conversations organized and transparent.
Online collaboration tools not only help your team work smarter but also helps increase overall team productivity and track the progress of projects and tasks and get status updates in real-time.
How do point solution online collaboration tools work?
Point solution online collaboration tools gather your entire team together in one collaboration place for one specific need and what it provides is a range of capabilities that only support that specific need. For example, a point solution collaboration software could be a communication platform. What you can do on that platform is chat with teammates and eventually being able to do conference calls and video meetings.
In this example of the communication platform, you wouldn’t be able to find a dashboard where you can view your tasks, you wouldn’t be able to track their progress and make sure that each task will be completed on time.
You also won’t be able to store your key files, documents, and resources there that you are often referring to, receive notifications for projects and tasks updates or have access to data.
There are many other things that you won’t be able to do from a point solution, but we’re sure you already get the picture.
All-in-one VS Point Solution collaboration tool
Collaboration tools are great as they increase the team’s efficiency and productivity, and you want that for your business, but then you face the dilemma of what type of solution you should actually choose: all-in-one or point solution?
We’ve already explained how both types of solutions work but to help you understand some key differences better and each solution pros and cons, we made that comparison table for reference:
All-in-one collaboration software key features
Every collaboration software is different, yet most tools will (or should) include the following features:
Project management – Organize all aspects of a project from planning and scheduling to resource allocation and execution.
Task management – Everything that’s needed to manage a task through its life cycle from planning to execution. Set deadlines, dependencies, and priority, and ensure the project stays on track and gets completed in time.
Document management – The document management feature is important for every collaboration software. It allows users to share and work on documents together by easily integrating third-party cloud storage apps into the platform. This feature also helps in keeping documents neatly organized in one place, so everyone can easily access them at any time.
Cross-functional collaboration – A single place where everyone within your organization (marketing, sales, HR, logistics, developers, support, etc.) comes together to work on a goal or project.
Internal messaging – Collaboration software that has built-in messaging features can help to keep the communication organized and on-topic. The ability to communicate in-app and collaborate on individual tasks and projects sharing comments, feedback, and ideas, all while keeping a historic record of discussions that everyone can refer to at any time. Most collaboration tools also provide users with the ability to comment on task and project levels and to attach files to further support tasks and projects.
Data analytics – That feature is not very common, but highly beneficial for the health of your business. By having access to real-time data, users can make better-informed decisions that are not gut-based but backed up with key data insights.
Notifications – To stay up to date with all recent modifications made to tasks, mentions, discussions, and more.
Integration opportunities – With collaboration software, users should be able to access all types of documents, files, and resources, some of which are stored in a third-party application. Thus, it is important for your chosen collaboration software solution to offer robust integration opportunities with tools such as Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.
Intuitive interface – A good collaboration software should be intuitive and user-friendly and shouldn’t take more than a few days to get used to. The purpose of these kinds of tools is to simplify the work process and make it more efficient, so one of the most important features of any collaboration software is to be simple and straightforward.
Mobile-friendly design – Online collaboration tools should be able to function properly on mobile phones and tablets, too. Remote employees or employees that duties require moving around are not always going to be in front of the desktop, so providing them with a solution that allows them to stay productive and work on their tasks even on the go should be a top priority.
Security – When focusing on the features that collaboration software solutions provide, you should not forget about the importance of data protection and security. And while some free online collaboration software tools offer less protection than enterprise tools, they all should require logins and passwords to protect the data and information shared on the platform. If the collaboration software offers two-factor authentication, the better. It helps prevent security breaches and verifies the user’s identity.
Why do companies use online collaborative productivity software?
Imagine working on a project where the teams are distributed across the globe: the software engineers are in New York, the marketing team is in London, and the designers are in Paris. Ensuring that everyone stays focused and in sync can be challenging given the fact that each team is in a different country and operates in different time zones.
So how can you make sure that everyone is in the know?
Collaboration software helps in reducing the stress of working with others no matter where they are located. It can help strengthen team relationships, save time and headaches, improve organization, and increases speed and efficiency.
Collaborative productivity software by the numbers:
- 70% of employees said digital technology improved their collaboration. (ArubaNetworks)
- Online collaboration tools and digital workplaces facilitate increased productivity by up to 30%, digital collaboration statistics reveal. (McKinsey)
- Fully operational communication systems assist in holding on to top talents in companies by up to 450%. (Work Institute)
- Extremely connected teams demonstrate a 21% increase in profitability. (Gallup)
- Employees now spend about 50% more time engaged in collaborative work. (Harvard Business Review)
- Roughly 75% of employees regard collaboration and teamwork as important. (Queens University of Charlotte)
How can all-in-one online collaboration tools lead to productive teamwork?
There are many advantages that come with collaboration software. Perhaps the main of all is the opportunity to improve productivity amongst teams who don’t necessarily work in the same office, same country, or the same time zone.
Here are some other benefits of online collaboration tools and how they lead to productive teamwork:
Communication, they say, is the key to teamwork.
Communication and collaboration in person is great, but when that’s not possible online tools like collaboration software help us keep up the flow of conversations, feedback, and ideas. Efficient communication not only boosts productivity but also helps prevent and resolve problems.
Enhanced project management
Managing one project can be a simple task, but what about managing tens of projects at the same time? How can you avoid getting lost in organization and coordination without the help of a collaboration tool?
Luckily, you don’t have to worry about that. Collaboration software ensures everything is on track in order to avoid mistakes and confusion that can delay projects or individual tasks.
When using various tools for managing tasks, communicate and store files, it is easy to lose track of what has been done, what hasn’t, who said what, and which task was they referring to. Everything is a mess. But keeping all aspects of your projects and tasks organized doesn’t have to be complicated. Collaboration software assists in creating calm and organization in your team’s workflow through open communication and coordination and by keeping everything in one platform where nothing gets mysteriously lost.
Data-driven decision making
With the power of data analytics solution integrated into your collaboration software, your team will no longer need to waste time trying to analyze spreadsheets to source their data but instead have more time to focus on the insights gathered and make choices based on facts that will help you reach your company goals and objectives faster. Having that available in one place with all other productivity tools brings instant effortlessness and effectiveness to the data-driven decision making process.
What should I consider when choosing a collaboration tool?
Getting collaboration software for your team is a critical business decision. You wouldn’t want to waste time and money testing every solution available on the market. We help you narrow down your choices, so you can make the best decision possible – both for your team and business.
Here are the 6 main factors to keep in mind when choosing a collaboration tool:
1.Needs – The first step of choosing a collaboration tool is understanding your organization’s needs – how does your team currently work, what could and should be improved in their work process, is their work structured or unstructured? To find the answers to these questions, you should not only observe your teamwork from a distance, but you should consult with them. Those are the people that will use this collaboration software after all, so their needs and their opinion on the matter are what you should care most about in the first place.
What else you should consider in this first step is whether the collaboration software is web-hosted or on-premise. Will your organization’s data and files be secure? After you have determined your specific needs, then you can move on to the next step.
2.Features – The features that the online collaboration tools offer are the missing puzzle pieces for your organization. The software should provide all the features that you require for it to be an effective productivity tool for your team. They must be responsive, easy to use, and of course, they should help your team to get work done more efficiently.
When exploring the different options, always ask for free trials so you can test how the software works and what your team thinks of it.
3.Cost – How much does your budget allow for this kind of software? Your investment must be reasonable and must consider the long-term value that the software can have for your team and organization, as well as all other costs that might come with it such as upgrades in the future, maintenance, etc.
4.Support – Reliable support is a must. Your team will need to be trained and should have access to tutorials and a knowledge base. If the vendor doesn’t offer this, then you better move on to the next one.
5.Integration with other tools – You need to find collaboration software that can integrate with the tools that your team already uses. Don’t ignore this factor as if you chose a tool that cannot integrate with other tools needs by your team, then the software won’t be that much of a help – your team will still need to switch between apps to be able to access everything needed to complete its job.
6.Security – Security is important, so in any case, you should choose a solution that comes along with security features that will guarantee the safety of your data. You should also be able to choose where your data will be stored. If a vendor doesn’t offer security features or only offers weak security, wave goodbye to it and continue searching for a better solution.
Slingshot, a complete collaboration software solution
Slingshot comes ready to take your team’s collaboration to the next level. By keeping everyone in the know, teams can stay on top of projects even across different time zones, meaning productivity doesn’t suffer even though team members can’t be physically present with one another.
Slingshot simplifies collaboration by incorporating modern project and team file management, chat, and data analytics all within one app. When you can easily share all these elements in one place with team members and share projects with external team members, calmness is restored. With robust productivity flows out of the box and is designed to work seamlessly to enable continuous collaboration workflows. This helps teams cut across collaboration silos, prevents work disruptions, and makes it easier for teams to work better together.
Are you ready to transform the way your team works? Try it today and see how Slingshot can help your teams deliver extraordinary results that drive business growth.Categories: Collaboration, Project Management, Team Productivity