Collaboration is critical in today’s super-connected business environments, but not every enterprise is ready or able to deploy high-end solutions, fortunately there are a range of excellent collaboration tools that should help productivity workers of any kind, no matter what size the enterprise.
Collaboration super-powered: Slack
I’ve been a fan of Slack since it surfaced a few years ago. You can access it through your browser or through dedicated apps for Mac, iOS and other platforms.
The solution is designed to make it super-easy for remote teams to collaborate in a very human way, with instant messages, topic-focused chatrooms, private channels and the capacity to share files or make video/voice calls. Basically, if five of you are working on something you can share work in progress, talk about it, and all in real time (or not) depending on what you need.
Slack is also extendible. You can pull social media feeds into the app, and even bring access to online file sharing services and other external apps.
Slack is a powerful tool that just might suit the needs of your team. Free to try, pricing plans for larger groups, more information here.
Conferencing anywhere: Join.Me
Confidentiality is everything and cross platform online video/audio conferencing solution, Join.Me is a great choice if you want to speak to colleagues on every major mobile and desktop computing platform.
The idea is simple enough: You can start a meeting with a single touch of a button on an iPhone, but – with an eye on the way we like to collaborate today – you can also present documents and other digital items from the device.
A little more about presentations: This isn’t about dumb file sharing, you get to use a “Mobile Whiteboard” upon which you can sketch out your ideas in real time (iPad Pro users like this feature). You can also take turns in the presentation role, share your screen (or window) and so on.
Additional features include one-click meeting scheduling, the chance to brand meeting pages and to share a public link to get others directly in contact with you. Free, with pro and business pricing available.
Social media pros: Buffer
Social media professionals have a range of useful apps available to them. I don’t think Buffer has quite as many bells and whistles as some of the more expensive solutions you’ll find around, but I think it provides a good balance of features and platform compatibility for teams in search of an accessible way to manage multiple social media feeds and services.
Buffer lets you create social media posts, schedule and post those posts, add new content (such as posts you find when exploring social media) and so on. Buffer also lets you collaborate with other team members, create ad hoc working groups and more. The solution works with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Instagram and Pinterest and you access it using a dedicated iOS (also Android) app, or a browser extension for access from a computer.
Free for individuals with a range of pricing options for enterprise users.
Learning in teams: Hive Learning
Trust me on this one – a company that puts the time and resources into creating training materials to deliver via this app will experience a real boost in employee learning, which can be of particular value when promoting and on-boarding staff. The idea is to help deliver a personalized learning experience that can be accessed anytime, anywhere.
The app is aimed at teams and organisations. The idea is that learning groups within these will share and build digital resources to help each other learn and acquire new skills. The idea is that teams can learn in a collaborative way, sharing relevant resources and ideas and that they can do so using whatever platform they prefer. Notifications are a key part of how this works, so you get the interaction and engagement of a social network twinned to learning activity. The solution is already in use at big name enterprises including Deloitte, Jaguar Landrover, Heineken and Badminton England.
Trusted core: Basecamp
Basecamp is already a widely used and much-trusted team collaboration solution. The idea is that it keeps project-based conversations in a single place, so you can all track to do lists, documents, schedules and messages, and lets you keep a record of what has been agreed and roughly where everyone should be when working on a project.
There is also a degree of automation within Basecamp, so you’ll be given reminders when you are late on a project. This solution is also good for managers watching multiple projects, as they can both isolate conversations between these groups and gain an effective birds-eye view of project status. The solution is free for individuals with an unlimited $99/month fee for enterprise users.
Make it work better: IFTTT
If you use lots of different apps and services you’ll want to take a look at IFTTT, which aims to make these all work better together (though do also take a look at Apple’s recently-acquired Workflow). The idea is that you can create recipes of different actions across different devices which you can then invoke as and when you need them. You could use it to update social media, or simply to send out messages to team members across multiple channels, or to ensure that incoming images are resized for use online – there are lots of ways to use this app. IFTTT is compatible with well over 400 different apps and services.
Enterprise users can also build IFTTT Applets to share with customers online – blog publishers can build sharing widgets to help spread readership, even.
For the purposes of this collection I’ve skipped relatively obvious solutions such as Google’s solutions or online file storage services. This is by no means a complete list – if your favorite iOS-compatible collaboration tool isn’t included please let me know, and tell me why it should have featured.
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