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Collaboration Tools to Boost Your Success

May 17, 2016   Antonio Johnson   General

As today’s modern workplaces grow exponentially with clients and customers on opposite sides of the world, they begin to express the need for easier and more efficient ways to communicate virtually as well as the need for collaboration tools to help them do so.

Building an online presence for companies and businesses has become an assumed priority as consumers demand quicker ways to connect. Over the past few years, more exposure for businesses has become linked with the development and UX/UI of up-to-date websites. Technological solutions to collaborate have become increasingly prevalent and normalized with the emergence of real-time software tools. Without these tools and technology, McKinsey Global Institute has claimed that management would become 20-25% less productive.

And it doesn’t just stop there. According to ICE3, 97% of businesses that use collaboration tools in their professional networks have agreed that customer and client services have drastically improved the number of parties helped, as well as contributed to an increase in efficiency. To match an ever-increasing consumer base and quickly create collaborative solutions, it is important to ensure that your team is thinking on the same page.

Let’s be honest – productivity in the workplace can easily be credited to communication or technological errors. Drafting pitches, sending revisions, and asking for approval can be a lengthy multi-step process without an integrated media platform. A buyer transaction can take twice the amount of time if a problem arises due to a lack of communication. Staggered “out-of-office” notices can slowly but steadily turn a short 3-hour project into a 5-day e-mail mess. Software Advice found that using internal collaboration tools to manage your digital workspace could reduce 30% of your email volume. That’s a lot less bulk for attachments to get lost in the middle of an important project!

Also, managing teams through collaborative working can assist companies by allowing them to focus on recruiting from a larger pool of applicants to find the best talent. This lets users work together independent of location while simultaneously encouraging diversity in a virtual team. When building a successful collaborative group of people, companies must look for diverse talent inside and outside their circles. Without collaborative tools that allow us to coordinate projects and meet deadlines like Google Hangouts and Brosix Instant Messenger, it would also be difficult to acquire talent considering the costs of relocation, travel, and concurrent projects. For example, in a “Mobile Working” case study by telecoms company O2, social collaboration software was used during “leave your staff at home day” to show the cost and benefit implications. It turned out that employees were able to save £9000 on commuting costs and spent an extra 1000 hours working that would usually be spent commuting.

By choosing methods of online collaboration, companies not only increase their productivity, but also yield better results and cut costs in business regions including support and programming. The following collaborative tools are currently employed across a multitude of platforms and users, allowing companies to effortlessly combine talent and productivity and put together talented teams to tackle issues at the forefront of their force.

Dropbox

Never lose a file again with Dropbox’s secure file-sharing service. This easy-to-use software makes collaboration almost effortless within teams. Compatible with Windows, Mac, Ubuntu Android, iOS and Blackberry, Dropbox can be downloaded to your device or viewed via a browser. Just create or add a file to the database and it will become immediately accessible from your phone, computer, or tablet, as well as any “shared folders” that you have allowed others to view, download, and edit from.

Dropbox works well with multiple accounts, letting users quickly switch from business to personal accounts by linking them. Photos, papers, links, and events can be organized into folders, with users’ permissions listed above each item. Some other things that regular Dropbox users may not know: the software is IFTTT compatible, can store apps for use with the same settings, and gives users the option to print files remotely.

Of course, upgrading from Dropbox Business has its benefits. For easy integration of all your online collaboration methods, Dropbox Enterprise invites new users and businesses to its platform by providing as much space as needed, as well as making it easy to import existing IT infrastructure. Collaboration insights displayed by Dropbox’s data and custom support from Dropbox staff are a few extra perks that come with this service.

The Dropbox platform is always developing. In recent months, Dropbox Business has been working on giving users a way to build their own applications from scratch. In addition to offering official SDKs for several popular programming languages like Python, HTTP, Java, and JavaScript, Dropbox API makes it even easier for team members to collaborate, communicate, and prototype examples. For example, permission options can be set to can track individual actions through a team activity log.

Google Drive

Google has changed collaboration and cloud sharing altogether just four years ago with Google Drive. This application not only allows users to share and save files like other programs, but also lets users edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations while on the same document at the same time. You can either make an account in seconds or log into your pre-existing Google account to allow other users viewing or editing access to all documents under a folder or by specific selections.

Google Drive is compatible with an extensive list of document formats, including but not limited to MP3 for audio files, PSD for Adobe Photoshop, and archive file types like .ZIP and .RAR. It is also easy for programmers to use its developer API. Officially supported on most operating systems, Google has exclusively licensed their software to allow constant, quick improvements for users. These terms may make files easier to modify into viewable or shareable formats.

With no traffic or bandwidth limit and no file expiration date, you can navigate Google Drive stress-free of lost files. Recent updates this past month from Google Drive for Mac and PC users let users select the folders and subfolders that they want to sync to store in Google Drive rather than on your hard drive, which has limited space. Sharing options have been updated to let users know when it may cause other users to lose access when moving them around. Smooth syncing transitions have been a focus of the Google Drive team in these last few updates, so look forward to facilitated file and document collaboration when using this application.

Trello

If you’re familiar with Hootsuite or TweetDeck, navigating Trello will be like second nature. This collaboration tool uses a card-based system that lets users organize projects in columns. Easily track the progress of your projects by categorizing activities into “to-do,” “doing,” and “done” modules, and add cards when a new idea pops into your head. Trello’s unique “drag and drop” feature can help you reorder lists as needed and updates in real time to keep your team on its feet.

With multiple ways to collaborate, Trello gives users many options to engage with the content at hand. Its inviting card layout encourages team members to post comments, upload files from other storage sites like Google Drive and Dropbox and add deadlines as they go. Power-Up features, including calendar, card aging, and voting, can be turned on and off at any time to fit your team’s collaborative needs. Any user with a web browser can have access to Trello, and anyone with an Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad, or Kindle Fire can download the app on App Store and Google Play. Trello is also accessible via email, which means that you can send and receive updates without even opening the app!

For team management, Trello lets managers invite as many people to the board as needed as well as delegate tasks. Connect with people across the world to make your networks more easily reachable with no language barriers, because Trello has recently become available in over 20 different languages. Check out Trello Business Class and Trello Gold for more options and features that can connect to even more services that may already be integrated with your company, such as Salesforce, GitHub, and Slack.

Box

Say goodbye to email’s limited space and insecure file sharing. Box is the faster, better way to run the course of projects, campaigns, and business plans than over email or through FTP sites.

Loved by customers in a variety of industries ranging from construction and manufacturing organizations, like P&G and Aéropostale, to tech and media companies, like Pandora and Six Flags, Box serves the purpose of providing file hosting and cloud storage for many businesses. Real-time updates have helped customers cut time by over 50% versus the time spent through email collaboration. Compatible with Outlook, Microsoft Office365, and Google Docs, easily integrate your current projects into a collaborative company account. Review and approval of the latest projects can be done with the touch of a button.

When companies begin to take off, communication can sometimes get a little spotty. Box’s secure permission-structured software both defaults to and encourages personal accountability through an easy-to-align layout. All team members will have no problem staying up to date with others’ account activities when using Box. This makes it easy to track changes, give and receive feedback, and make quicker decisions. Want to implement stricter privacy settings? With Box, you can change controls to allow and restrict access to other users, in addition to denying viewers the ability to print, share, or download files.

A few other nifty tricks included in Box’s software? You can preview all files in Box both online and via the mobile app, allowing users to view without having to download or sign in. Files can be embedded on any website or blog – and we’re talking any type of file. PowerPoints and MP3s can finally have a voice on your page.

Brosix

No matter what size your company is, this software is a necessary step in enhancing the productivity of your team collaboration. Brosix’s fully-featured services are simultaneously integrated into one chat platform that allows users to send texts, create chat rooms and broadcast messages, and talk over voice or video. With its industry standard, high-security AES-256 bit encryption, personal data can only be seen and used for administrative purposes, and content of captured messages cannot be read. Aside from facilitating company communication, you can ensure that Brosix is the most secure collaborative tool in the industry.

When connecting in real time, sometimes it can be easier to show others what you’re working on at the moment. Other times, communicating to visual learners can be difficult with only the verbal mediums that other messaging apps offer. In addition to group and private chat options, Brosix also hosts file transfers, screen sharing and screen shot services, and a whiteboard option for a variety of creative ways to communicate. For multilingual teams, Brosix can assist by speaking multiple languages, helping teams deliver cross-cultural solutions to bigger problems. By giving other parties a big picture view of your progress with sketches and shots, Brosix gives users the ultimate collaboration tool that they are looking for.

In addition to the standard chat options available on most professional media collaborative platforms, Brosix invites users to utilize its Multi-protocol feature where customers can connect to other instant messaging networks like Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, and Google Talk. The ability to sift through different networks on the same software helps teams communicate efficiently and view all incoming messages in one place. Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, and without installation on Brosix Web Client, Brosix is accessible virtually anywhere in the world. Just log in and have instant access to all communication channels wherever you go.

Brosix Enterprise features contribute to the collaborative solution that all virtual teams need. The welcome module immediately gives all users on Brosix the latest company news and announcements when only logging in, ensuring that all of your staff is on the same page. Make sure your contact lists and networks are up to date and synchronized, and keep track of important changes in your activity log. Unlike many other similar operating systems, Brosix offers free technical support and is completely ad free.

There you have it, 5 collaboration tools to help boost your success! Which one are you most excited to try?