The 5 Most Important Features of a Team Collaboration Tool
November 2nd, 2017 by adminTeam collaboration tools can transform the way your organization communicates and boost your bottom line. Team collaboration tools are ideal if you’d like to:
- Keep workers connected anywhere, anytime, on any device
- Build stronger bonds with more personal communications among employees, customers, partners and suppliers
- Save money by reducing travel expenses and employee transit time
- Decrease inbox clutter
- Increase productivity, collaboration and innovation
#1: A single channel for all interactionsFirst and foremost, a good team collaboration tool simplifies your life, makes you more productive and saves you from the hassle of flipping back and forth to find the information you need. It should enable you to handle all interactions, including talk, chat, work streams, video, collaboration sessions and conferences, from a single interface to truly maximize efficiency. This creates a single source of truth for all business information, allowing users to categorize by project, subject or person and instantly retrieve emails, instant messaging (IM) conversations, documents and more. Brought into a workgroup midway through a project? No problem – you can catch yourself up on the entire history from your team collaboration tool. Need to recall a specific detail? Gone are the days of wracking your brain to remember whether it was discussed by email or IM. A team collaboration tool worth its salt puts this information at your fingertips and significantly cuts down on time wasted digging through various inboxes and chat histories.
#2: Conversations mirrored across devices in real-timeAn effective team collaboration app brings historical interactions (like email) and real-time communications (like voice and IM) together on the same platform. And, just as you’re no longer chained to an immobile desktop computer, your team collaboration application shouldn’t chain you to one single device. So, in order to keep real-time communications in real-time, a good team collaboration tool will sync your conversations and interactions across all devices so you’re constantly connected and current. This way, workers on the go can jump from their laptops to their mobile phones without any costly gaps in communications. The major benefit? Being able to easily switch devices without losing touch means employees can have an in-office experience no matter where they are. According to Global Workplace Analytics, this is a huge perk when it comes to employee satisfaction; its research shows 36 percent of employees stated they would choose flexible working options over a pay raise and 37 percent even said they would take a pay cut for flexible working options.
#3: An intuitive, user-friendly interfaceAs is the case when introducing any new technology, you’ll want to remove any barriers to user adoption in order to see a strong return on investment. Typical reasons why people resist new technology include:
- Discomfort with change
- Lack of time to incorporate change
- Inability to see the value
#4: Real-time sharing made simpleIn a survey conducted by Wainhouse Research, the average respondent indicated they attend about nine meetings each week. Of those meetings, 54 to 80 percent typically included remote participants attending via audio, video and/or web conferencing. It’s not surprising then that the ability to easily share materials is critical in team collaboration. Whether you’re sharing your screen to walk someone through a new process or collaborating directly on a shared document in real-time, your team collaboration application should make teamwork simple, regardless of geographical distance.
#5: Integration with existing (and future) IT infrastructureWe discussed making adoption easy for end users in #3, but let’s take a look behind the curtain at the unsung heroes in your IT department. Your team collaboration tool should complement, not disrupt, your existing IT infrastructure in order to lower your total cost of ownership and maximize your return on investment. Depending on the level of integration, you’ll often see extra features and functionality from a tool that leverages your existing systems. This integration isn’t limited to what you have in place today – your team collaboration investment should not turn into a sunk cost once your business needs inevitably evolve. If your organization is growing, you’ll need a tool that can scale. If you’re considering someday moving to the cloud from an on-premises environment (or vice versa), your tool should be flexible enough to make the transition. Furthermore, look for a solution that’s easy to implement, administer and support to keep your IT department happy. In summary: examine the resources and technology you have in place and pick a team collaboration tool that’s a good fit for both.
Where to go nextWant to know more about team collaboration tools? Feel free to contact us. We’re more than happy to help you establish a functional and effective tool that will help you do better business.
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