Collaboration tools- technological tools which allow sharing knowledge and information
1 August 2016
The use of collaborative tools has become over the years a central tool for work groups in organizations. Hereby is an initial review of both free and paid collaboration tools which can assist in communication between teammates and shared project management.
A free and popular software, part of the Google + service package (which means a Gmail username is required) which allows group/one-on-one conversations. It also allows video chats (up to 9 people simultaneously) or Wi-Fi based audio conversations, texting and sharing pictures. Yes, Hangouts is synchronized between devices automatically, which means you can start a Hangout on a PC and continue it on another device such as a Smartphone. Furthermore, messages are saved so that their history can be reviewed. Hangout's big advantage is that it is free, though this can also be perceived as a disadvantage since all communication is based on an external network (i.e. the internet), which raises many issues regarding data security.
An internet-based service which enables chats and instant messaging for individuals as well as groups with video chat and file-sending (via cloud file storage) features. Furthermore, it allows users to integrate pictures and other types of media into messages, sharing screens and (similarly to Hangouts) allows searching through messaging history. This service is suitable for both Mac, Windows and portable devices such as tablets and Smartphones. Also, it can run within an organizational firewall.
It cost 2$ per user.
Slack is a cloud-based collaboration tool that includes chat rooms (channels) organized according to subject, as well as instant messaging and private groups. All content shared through Slack can be searched, including conversation and users. It can be operated via both Smartphone and computer. It also features notifications regarding updates and messages received through the different channels the user has joined.
Its trial version is free, and it costs 6.67$ per user.
For a comparison between Slack and HipChat, click on the link
Podio, created by Citirx, is a platform which besides enabling chats also enables managing projects with a number of crewmates. The platform enables users to choose from a variety of applications those applications which suit their needs, thus "tailoring" the unique environment which they need in order to manage the project. Some examples of applications which can be integrated in the work environment include chat rooms, a calendar, task-list divided according to participants, budget management, etc.
Azendoo is web-based software which enables project management. The software's chat system resembles Facebook which enables to receive private messages and notifications. Furthermore, one can leave responses to specific tasks based on the group's project. This software integrates with cloud file storage systems such as DropBox. The software has a trial version.
For a comparison to Slack, click here.
Microsoft offers several collaboration tools, one of them being SharePoint which can be used both in a cloud environment and an organizational one. SharePoint allows sharing files as well as managing versions of documents and the project's different tasks. Furthermore, it can be used together with other collaboration tools such as Yammer which enables sharing and consulting between groups and individuals or Microsoft Lync which enables chats as well as screen sharing between groups or individuals.
In conclusion, there is a variety of tools which offer different collaborative services. Each organization should choose the tool which most suits their needs in order to make sure that the chosen tool indeed serves the organization best.