4 Group Collaboration Apps for Increased Productivity
Whether you work for a large corporation or a one-man (or woman!) shop, there will always be a need to find the perfect tools for data sharing and collaboration. (Yes, even solo business owners can benefit from some of these tools.) If you’re looking for a tool to keep HR benefit information easily accessible to your employees, or trying to find the most efficient way to collaborate with different contributors (including freelancers) on projects, these tools will help.
Below we’ve taken a look at 4 of the top group productivity and collaboration apps out there ranging from file sharing to appointment scheduling.
First up is Microsoft’s SharePoint, the elder statesman of professional business collaboration tools. In the past, SharePoint needed its own dedicated server space, but with the introduction of Office 365 companies can now run an instance of SharePoint from the cloud.
In terms of functionality, SharePoint does everything you’d expect from a high-powered collaboration tool. You can house documents, notes, and task lists, create various files, and even different segments for each department. SharePoint also has the ability to give different users special permissions and access to specific files, so that your HR personnel files can be kept confidential, while benefits information can be accessible to the entire company.
SharePoint also boasts the ability to send users an email when they’ve been assigned a task, or when -a task or file they’ve assigned to has been edited.
Slack is the new kid on the block, and creating the biggest buzz – there’s even rumors of an IPO being whispered about. After debuting in February 2014 it was named Inc.’s Company of the Year for 2015 and secured $160million in funding a few months ago. And all for good reason, Slack arguably does collaboration better than just about anyone.
The beauty of Slack is that it integrates a ton of different apps and programs that your business already likely uses – such as DropBox, Gmail, Zen Desk – even Twitter. There’s also an open API so you can configure other programs and apps to use Slack.
Once you’ve got your integrations configured and your team members set up, Slack is fairly intuitive to use. The main screen looks a bit like the chat room windows of yesteryear, showing everything that your team is uploading, talking about, etc. You can then organize items into different lists (denoted by a #) and manage your conversations and documents there. You can also privately message colleagues through the app, which keeps all of your communications in one central location, rather than spread out across email, inter-office IM systems, and text messages.
If you often find yourself trying to schedule meetings with individuals working both inside of and outside of your company, you understand the pain that goes in to it. While Outlook and Google make it easy to see the availability of people within your network, once you start scheduling folks who work at other companies it turns into a lot of back and forth and “send me some dates that work for you” types of scenarios. Enter Doodle, an app that integrates with Gmail and Outlook calendars (including Exchange).
You can use Doodle in a couple of ways. First, you can set up an event and select a few date and time options. From there, you send the link to everyone invited and they’ll vote on the dates/times that work best for them. Second, you can send your availability options to an individual and have them select the option that works best for them to schedule an appointment (this is great for sales people or anyone trying to schedule interviews). Once the dates in your calendar fill up, they’re simply shown as unavailable. Genius!
This is, essentially, a high-powered to-do list. That said, it does a fantastic job of keeping everything organized. You can create folders and sub-folders, add deadlines, reminders, and notes to specific tasks. You can create user groups, or simply assign one user to one specific task… and it’s available as a mobile app with push notifications and as a desktop browser app.
If your company is interested receiving information on how TSI can assist you with keeping up with the latest tech trends, or if you’d like to set up an assessment to determine just how proficient your security, data management, and/or infrastructure are, please feel free to give us a call at (508) 543-6979.