Digital transformation has changed the way in which we communicate and collaborate. As workforce trends continue shifting to better support remote and mobile workers, tools must also evolve to effortlessly connect us regardless of our location or device. According to a Lifesize-commissioned Spiceworks survey, seven out of ten IT professionals consider collaboration to be a major priority for their organization, which is why the team collaboration market is booming with new and innovative solutions.1
While the features and functionality of team collaboration tools are impressive, using only a chat platform for collaboration doesn’t fully satisfy all the ways teams today work together. Face-to-face meetings and phone conversations still play a major role in the workplace. As you explore the adoption of new team collaboration tools, consider ways in which you can leverage your existing communication channels to build seamless collaboration within—and even beyond—your organization.
A simple Google search for team collaboration tools yields countless lists like “The 53 Best Collaboration Tools of 2019” and “99 Collaboration Tools You Should Know.” While this variety means there is a tool to fit every need, it can be difficult to find the one that is just right for your team. There are however, two solutions that really stand out above the rest: Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Since its release in August of 2013, Slack has dominated the team collaboration market by providing a single platform for all aspects of employee collaboration, including direct messaging, persistent channels (chat rooms organized by topic, project or team), file sharing and integrations with other applications to streamline workflows. All content inside Slack is searchable—including files, conversations, and people—making it easy to find and share information, whether you are in the office or on the go. With its intuitive platform and robust capabilities, it’s no wonder Slack recently announced 8 million active daily users across more than 500,000 organizations.
Although it was released more recently, in 2017, Microsoft Teams has been gaining serious momentum in the team collaboration space, with its growth only expected to accelerate. Recent research projects that “by the end of 2020, 41 percent of organizations expect to use Microsoft Teams (up from 21 percent in 2016).” Microsoft Teams allows users to collaborate in real time, including sharing files, creating meetings and more within a single chat console, with bots adding customization by executing specific functions or workflows unique to an organization. According to Forbes, “With 200,000 organizations across 181 markets in 39 languages creating 3M Teams already after a year, it’s hard to characterize Teams anything other than a success.”
Leveraging integrated platforms to yield greater results
Additionally, an integrated platform approach to collaboration can enable your workforce to interact directly with colleagues and clients effectively and efficiently—whether you’ve just acquired another company, closed a deal with a big new customer or partnered with a new vendor on a large project.
For instance, unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solutions that encompass video, audio/web conferencing and advanced communication features can also integrate with team collaboration and other widely used business applications to further streamline workflows and enhance employee productivity, while maximizing existing technology investments.
No matter which route you choose, this new era of workplace collaboration is here to stay and will be an investment worthy of your time.
Austin Herrington is Vice President of Enterprise Voice Product Management for Windstream Enterprise. He oversees the enterprise product strategy and roadmap where he and his team develop, manage and market advanced products and services offered to customers nationwide, executing programs to help businesses achieve a perpetual state of winning. He was previously Director of Product Management responsible for Windstream’s Internet portfolio and value-added services. Prior to joining Windstream in 2006, Herrington was Director of Product Management for Alltel. He holds an MBA from the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business.
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