Team collaboration software aims to facilitate communication between team members by providing a convenient, informal space to directly message one another, talk as a group, and share relevant content. Team collaboration tools are intended to be the go-to for users to quickly address questions, check their tasks, and access shared knowledge and files.
Team collaboration software is varied, and solutions cherry-pick from an array of features and functionality. However, all of them are characterized by their ability to give teams a freeform workspace to communicate and collaborate. Solutions aim to be as user-friendly and intuitive as possible to ensure a high adoption rate.
Team collaboration software is often implemented alongside project management software or task management software. Integrations with the aforementioned systems provide a seamless pipeline for projects and tasks to be discussed and completed. However, many team collaboration solutions can also be categorized as project management or task management tools themselves, depending on the functionality they provide. Some of these overlapping features include task creation, check-in functions, and workflows.
Connecting a whole company sounds like an incredibly taxing and expensive endeavor. However, team collaboration tools provide that exact solution with the added benefit of a low implementation cost. Team collaboration tools enable a business to connect their entire team from top to bottom by providing channels for communication at both the individual and team levels. For teams with multiple offices or remote employees, team collaboration software also ensures everyone is involved, engaged, and connected.
Sending an email can be unnecessary for minor inquiries or updates. Team collaboration software provides a less formal (and more responsive) space for conversation between employees. Many team collaboration tools also offer a corresponding mobile app, enabling employees to rapidly communicate on the go or without leaving a work-oriented channel.
Team collaboration software cuts out a lot of the back-and-forth communication that bogs down productivity by allowing users to communicate directly within the document or content, without resorting to slower methods of communication like email. This expedites the response time and consequently speeds up overall work processes.
Companies save both physical and virtual space with team collaboration software. With content contained in a shared cloud, users don’t need to store documents in bulky file cabinets or on personal computers. Users can set up a folder structure to ensure everything has a place.
Teams and companies of all sizes find team collaboration tools useful. Team collaboration software exists to help any sized group of contributors work together virtually toward a common goal. It offers a—usually cloud-based—platform that users can access anytime in any internet-enabled location to include their voices in the conversation.
This software has been used by companies and teams boasting varying demographics. In some instances, it serves teams of 30,000 employees situated in various parts of the globe. In other cases, it’s utilized by a husband and wife team who work together as freelance designers.
International teams benefit from this software by staying up to speed with assignments on a global level. The cloud-based design means that anyone who has been permitted to edit or view a file can do so from any location, so long as they have internet access and a secure login. Files are stored in a centralized repository as opposed to chaotically dispersed among individual servers.
Messaging – Team collaboration tools almost always feature an instant messaging system. These tools facilitate one-on-one, real-time communication and the creation of team-specific spaces for group collaboration.
File sharing – The ability to share files is usually built into the messaging component of a team collaboration tool. Most solutions will integrate with a business content management system to store files automatically.
Search – Team collaboration software can archive files, projects, or conversations so collaborators can return to them at a later date. They also have intuitive search features, so users can quickly track down the content they’re looking for.
Document collaboration – Document collaboration tools allow users to create and edit documents with others in real time. These documents can be stored within the app or housed externally using another integrated content management system.
Integrations – Team collaboration software typically offers significant integration capability, allowing users to connect with their content management system, CRM software, or even another collaboration tool.
VoIP and video conferencing – Some team collaboration software solutions will offer VoIP or video conferencing or will integrate with another provider, giving users the ability to change communication methods seamlessly without leaving the app.
Task management – Task management features enable users to create tasks and organize them by status, priority, and department. This can include Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and workflows.
Versioning – Versioning ensures collaborators are always working with the most recently updated edition of a file. It also allows users to go back and look at prior drafts without converting back to that version. Team collaboration software helps users track edits and changes and keep up with the overall evolution of a task.
Calendar – Many team collaboration solutions will offer individual and team calendars that autofill with tasks and projects made within the app. Calendars can also integrate with outside email solutions as well as project management and task management software.
Team collaboration tools are among the most popular to implement in business currently. One would be hard-pressed to find a successful workplace that does not employ an internal messaging application or check-in tool. Project management and task management products are now adopting many of the features of team collaboration tools or integrating with popular, existing tools. In the future, we may see the categories merge if the features normally hosted by team collaboration products become expected within project management software.
The team collaboration space is highly varied, which can make apples-to-apples comparisons difficult at face value. Many products and companies entered the space from a number of directions, leaving the space hazy and without a strict, concrete definition. While a number of tools label themselves as team collaboration solutions, the space may need to splinter into more well-defined categories for easier comparisons between products.
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