How to Identify the Collaboration Tools Right for You

Think about how many collaboration tools you use on a daily basis. You might use Slack, Google Hangouts, or Microsoft Skype for Business to chat with your team, but use Atlassian Trello or Basecamp to collaborate on team projects and documents.

With hundreds of collaboration tools to choose from, it's no surprise employees are feeling the stress of dealing with multiple platforms. In fact, research from communications software provider Dynamic Signal shows that more than half of workers admit to being overwhelmed and pressured to use several communication platforms for work, and some even report quitting out of sheer frustration.

For businesses of all sizes, the right combination of tools should alleviate employee workloads and improve efficiencies across the board. As companies recognize the risk of overloading employees with too many products, they should reevaluate the tools they invest in and look for solutions that enable teams to do more with less.

Before IT decision makers and CIOs rip and replace their existing suites of productivity tools, they first need to ask themselves three big questions:

  1. Can I find a partner that will work with me to identify tools that fit the specific business needs I have today?
  2. What features are important to my end users and what problems can we alleviate with new communications and collaboration tools?
  3. What is important for my business in the future and can I avoid adding tools to satisfy those needs?

Too often, organizations work with vendors that lock them into static solutions. Companies select tools they think will solve their collaboration problems but fail to consider the true returns on their investments. Static products, like basic on-premises solutions, are often limited in features and can be difficult to customize as an organization grows.

Instead, businesses should look for partners that can recommend customizable tools to solve for specific workplace challenges of both today and the future. A good partner will help companies avoid jumping on trendy tools and investing in products that don't provide value to their organizations. Just because one company likes using one tool for its internal communications doesn't mean it's the right tool for every company.

Companies must consider what end users hope to achieve with a new collaboration stack. IT decision makers should consult with their teams to determine what features employees would like to have, work to understand the pain points their employees currently experience, and then identify opportunities to introduce the right suite of products that employees will actually use.

In addition, a good partner will always be looking ahead to the next big innovation in the collaborations environment. Businesses are often preoccupied with finding tools to solve today's problems that they neglect to consider how those same tools will address their future needs. If a company shows signs of growth, a partner should be able to suggest a cloud-based integrated platform that allows the collaboration features to be upgraded as needed.

But the work doesn't end for partners and companies once they've identified a solution; equally important is ensuring collaboration tools are seamlessly integrated into existing workflows and employees are thoroughly onboarded to new software. To ensure maximum adoption and utilization, organizations should:

  • Internally market tools to employees before rolling out technology
  • Provide ongoing education and training sessions
  • Highlight benefits to each department and explain how tools will alleviate pain points
  • Establish a point of contact to whom employees can direct questions and provide feedback

Finding the right collaboration tool for your organization takes time, but due diligence and a thorough understanding of current pain points can help businesses identify the right list of options to consider. And with the help of a true partner, companies can successfully identify collaboration tools to increase productivity and simplify the lives of their employees not just today but for years to come.