Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face plenty of challenges related to IT. The most pressing one today is getting employees to collaborate when they’re literally miles apart. This is largely because many businesses were forced into long-term remote work arrangements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, there are many tools designed to increase collaboration for SMBs. Here are some of the best we think you should consider.
Slack is the go-to workplace communication tool for many businesses. It’s a robust messaging platform that’s compatible with internet-enabled devices, and it’s equipped with a ton of useful features. Slack allows users to start individual conversations and even host group chats by creating channels. For example, you can create an #accounting channel for all your finance staff and a #humanresource group for all HR-related concerns.
Besides instant messages, users can send photos, videos, and documents for all their collaboration needs. The app also lets you set up polls when deciding on a particular issue and use automated bots to monitor channel activity.
Zoom has become a top choice for companies in need of a video conferencing app. The app lets users conduct simple one-on-one calls, but it’s true value lies in setting up team meetings, training sessions, webinars, and company-wide presentations with as many as a thousand participants.
One of Zoom’s key features is that participants can join calls through a web browser (without installing the mobile and desktop version) as long as they have a URL link to the call session. Despite its recent security blunders, Zoom protects callers with end-to-end encryption and role-based security.
What’s more, participants can share their screens and record calls, which is particularly helpful for recalling key talking points in a meeting.
Asana is a collaboration tool that makes it easy to organize your team’s projects. It offers a centralized dashboard where you can add tasks, assign them to team members, set due dates, post comments, and share relevant documents. The dashboard even allows you to plot out your team’s tasks through cards, calendars, and to-do lists, giving you an at-the-glance view of everyone’s workload. You’ll be able to know what tasks are currently being worked on, who’s working on what, and how far along a project is going.
Asana can also update users assigned to a card either via email or mobile push notifications. If you’re in marketing, for example, Asana can be programmed to alert designers when there’s a high-priority ad campaign project that requires their expertise. The next person in the workflow will then be alerted once designers have crossed the task off their list.
Dropbox is a cloud storage service that keeps files in sync between an online server and your devices. This means that if you make changes to your locally stored files, Dropbox mirrors those changes on the online server to ensure that all your files are up to date. The service is accessible via any device, provided you have an authorized account, and is thoroughly secured with advanced encryption systems.
What makes Dropbox so powerful is its file sharing capabilities. These let you set access restrictions for files and folders and share them using a secure link. This saves people from emailing documents to each other and working with outdated versions of a file.
Dropbox even has built-in collaboration features that enable users to edit, leave suggestions, and work together on documents in real time
While individual apps like Slack and Dropbox serve specific purposes, cloud productivity suite Microsoft 365 is designed to accommodate various needs. For starters, it has Microsoft Teams, which combines the functionality of Slack’s instant messaging and Zoom’s HD video conferencing features, making it the perfect platform for communicating with coworkers. It also has Microsoft Planner, which provides users with a top-down view of everyone’s workflow, schedules, and deadlines.
The core feature in Microsoft 365 is Office Online, which is essentially the cloud version of favorite productivity apps like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote. These apps allow users to collaborate on the same documents and discuss ideas using built-in Microsoft Teams integrations. Then there’s OneDrive where users can store and share documents in one place.
These merely scratch the surface of what Microsoft 365 is capable of, but it’s clearly a must-have solution if you want to keep everyone on the same page.
If you’re looking for solutions that can increase collaboration, productivity, and profitability, talk to the consultants at Intouch IT. Our experts will recommend best-in-class solutions that help you achieve your goals. Call us now!