Collaboration tools enable team members to work quicker, more efficiently, and achieve business objectives, regardless of their physical location. It is no wonder that 86% of leaders attribute workplace failures to a lack of collaboration. Moreover, studies have shown that the global pandemic has fueled a rise in employees’ use of online collaboration platforms. In recent years, due to high demand, there has corresponding growth in the development of collaborative software.
However, every business is unique, and even though collaboration tools are a must-have, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to facilitate teamwork and improve workplace productivity. While Jira is a good collaboration tool for your engineering team, it would not be helpful to your marketing team. You might want to buy a Hubspot subscription for them. Thus, to help you fathom which software works best, this blog looks at four types of team collaboration tools.
1. Project Management
Whether businesses operating as digital marketing agencies or professional legal service organizations, they need a solid project management (PM) solution to keep projects moving. Without a trusted digital arsenal for project management, businesses will soon get overwhelmed by the scribbled paperwork with schedules, tasks, and milestones. Even if you use Microsoft Excel templates to manage projects, you may still have difficulty assigning tasks and tracking progress.
Project management tools help communicate even the tiniest changes to a project schedule or scope and record essential conversations that could otherwise get lost in an endless sea of emails, WhatsApp texts, and post-it notes.
In addition to features like work calendars, instant messaging, and file-sharing, project management software must also have customizable dashboards for allocating resources, delegating tasks, setting deadlines, and monitoring project metrics. Some PM software even allows you to trigger an email alert as a reminder before the closing date of a task.
A good PM solution should be able to carry out budget forecasting and financial reporting and generate cost projections for existing and future projects. It should also allow you to set up a notification as and when you go over the budget.
2. Cloud Storage
Most modern businesses rely on cloud computing for effective collaboration, and for a good reason. It eliminates the need for small firms to invest in costly server hardware or centralized data storage.
Cloud collaboration empowers workers to access and edit files saved on the cloud anytime, anywhere. All team members may also see the changes being made in real-time, as the file is automatically updated for everyone simultaneously. In short, with a cloud collaboration tool, there’s no need for you to be in the office to share the file with your colleagues.
It’s important to note, though, that cloud computing has its fair share of security threats. However, IT administrators can help prevent cloud security risks by training staff on best defense practices. Accountability is the name of the game in data centers. When you educate your employees on industry standards for accessing and processing data, they will feel more responsible about protecting the company’s assets and be mindful of data security measures.
3. Contract Management Software
Typically, contract management software is designed to standardize, track, and automate every stage of a contract lifecycle. Streamlining corporate procedures online guarantees contract transparency and adherence to compliance standards. You can monitor who made what modifications and which versions are active. This, in turn, allows you to ensure that no essential provisions have been removed, and only the right personnel have made the changes.
Also, when you use a digital toolkit for contract management, you grant all your employees always easy access to the most up-to-date contract templates and terms, regardless of their geographical location.
Like with PM tools, you can use alert notifications in contract management software to remind you to renew a contract or archive it as and when it expires. Also, a good contract management solution will provide relevant information on contract history and audit trails for extensive reporting and analysis.
4. Video Conferencing
As many firms welcome the transition to remote work, video conferences have largely replaced in-person meetings—from a private conversation between two people to a large event with hundreds of attendees.
Much like working with someone face-to-face, the screen-sharing feature in video conferencing software makes for a more productive experience. The time, money, and energy spent traveling between in-person meetings with vendors and clients or commuting to the far end of the city for a job interview can quickly add up, making it difficult to fit other, more productive activities into your day. Thus, with a video conferencing tool comes an added convenience of efficiency and cost-benefit.
Collaboration tools can be placed in different categories, depending on their offered features. Before settling on a collaborative tool, consider the size of your team, project requirements, and business goals. Also, pay close attention to any communication or performance gaps in the workplace and find appropriate software solutions to fill them. However, no single type of collaboration tool will solve all problems. Therefore, go for a combination of several targeted products to achieve your intended outcomes.