Collaboration tools found in the top productivity suites are at the heart of unified communications (UC) platforms, providing all the benefits of collaborative tools inside a single application.
But how are they different from productivity suites, and what tools impact your organization’s success most?
WHAT IS A COLLABORATION TOOL?
Collaboration tools deal specifically with features that:
- Facilitate and improve workforce communication
- Simplify idea and data sharing
Productivity suites include collaboration tools but also involve elements like word processing, spreadsheets, and slide presentations. When collaboration tools are under a single platform, they help users get everything done within the same ecosystem.
WHAT ARE THE 6 TOP BENEFITS OF ONLINE COLLABORATION TOOLS?
The primary benefits of online collaboration tools focus on improved communication for virtual teams. These benefits leverage improved collaboration to increase productivity and efficiency while simultaneously reducing costs. These tools are the heart of unified communications (UC), bringing absolute connectivity inside a single application.
The following are the six most important features of collaborative tools.
1. REAL-TIME COMMUNICATION
Real-time communication helps virtual teams plan, discuss, and share throughout project life cycles.
Real-time communications include:
- Telephony, including international calls
- Instant messaging
- Topical discussion channels
Real-time communications can be scheduled meetings or huddles, which are often a more informal gathering around a discussion.
Much like the physical object, whiteboards allow virtual teams to share innovative ideas by writing and drawing on a virtual whiteboard.
File-sharing integrates across multiple collaborative tools, helping users access files, video clips, and documents while also making it easy to attach media in conversations, meetings, documents, spreadsheets, and more.
The most impactful benefits of collaborative tools aren’t just about messaging one another. They’re also about our awareness of others in our workgroups and projects. With presence, users set their current status to let others know what they’re up to. For instance: available, busy, out of the office.
Presence is a subtle and vital element of social sharing that mimics how we interact in person, making it easier to make the best use of time.
An important element of these collaborative tools is that they are persistent: Messages remain available at all times, even if they were posted or shared in a meeting or webinar.
AI is much more than a buzzword. New AI implementations are added regularly to unified communications platforms. Presently, it’s used to provide:
- Smart AI assistants, which help with tasks like language translation, conversation thread summaries, and more
- Text-to-speech transcription
- Conversational intelligence and speech analysis to gain insights into co-worker sentiment or customer impressions
- Automated note-taking from meetings and webinars
- Message summaries
WHY ARE COLLABORATIVE TOOLS IMPORTANT?
Companies that make full use of the benefits of collaborative tools see measurable gains:
- Better communication
- Increased efficiency
- Greater productivity
- Easier team coordination
- Better finished products
- Dramatic cost savings
Collaborative tools let organizations coordinate meetings, share resources with everyone involved in a project, and unlock efficiency while reducing costs.
WHICH PLATFORM IS BEST FOR ME?
There are numerous collaboration platforms, but Zoom, Teams, Meet, and Slack are four of the most widely known examples of collaborative tools, each with its own appeal.
Zoom has numerous strengths in UC. Many users associate the platform with videoconferencing, and its video streaming service and options are considered superior to Meet, Teams, and Slack.
Zoom has the highest frame rate at 26 fps, which provides noticeably smoother streaming quality.
Touch-ups, lighting adjustments, and other enhancements are considered the industry’s best. Zoom is also the only platform that allows users to record sessions without a subscription.
Users find Zoom the easiest professional collaborative platform to learn, use, and customize, with the most useful features.
Microsoft Teams remains popular because of its long-held prominence. People remain loyal to the Microsoft 365 suite, so one of the most important benefits of its online collaboration tools is their seamless integration into everything else the suite offers, from spreadsheets to documents and more.
Google Meet is the most popular platform among rising professionals and startups for similar reasons to Microsoft. These users grew up using Gmail, cloud storage, and Chromebooks. Both platforms offer the features businesses need for their virtual teams, but brand familiarity and integration with Workspace are primary drivers.
Google Meet is feature-rich, providing the expected benefits of collaborative tools virtual teams rely upon, but Zoom’s flexibility and ease of use are the standard.
Slack shares many of the same collaboration features as other platforms, including:
- Audio and video communication
- Discussion channels with threads
It isn’t nearly as robust as other platforms, but Slack does make up for some of this with third-party integrations.
Much of Slack’s appeal is how it fosters a casual, friendly work atmosphere with a similar appeal to social media platforms. For example, conversations are often rich with emojis, and users can personalize their color scheme.
LET VIVO HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT COLLABORATIVE TOOLS FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION
Vivo understands the driving differentiators between the top platforms, and we’re passionate about helping our clients make the right choice for their teams.Ready to take advantage of better communications, increased efficiency, and cost savings? Get in touch with one of our experts today!