How to Choose the Collaboration Tool that’s Right for Your Team

Making the right choice when it comes to a collaboration tool can greatly improve your team’s performance. There are a plethora of team communication solutions on the market, but none of them will solve your business’s problems without a well thought out communication strategy. It’s not enough to simply buy the fanciest option and hope for the best. You need a plan.

Creating a Communication Plan

While team collaboration tools can certainly facilitate a more efficient work environment, leading to increases in engagement an productivity, they won’t work on their own. In order to choose the right tool for you, and make the most of it, take the time to lay out a clear plan for how your team will use the tool beforehand. Think through some tough questions ahead of time, or better yet, invite your team to think through them with you:

  • How does your project management team look when effectively collaborating?
  • Why aren’t you achieving this all of the time? What’s stopping you?
  • What do you need in order to change this?

The answers to these questions will help you identify exactly what you need to change and how in order to create your ideal collaboration environment. These answers will certainly lead you to a team collaboration solution, but more importantly, they will help you understand how your team should use this tool.

Choosing the Right Collaboration Tool

Use your answers to the above questions to help pinpoint what type of collaboration tool is right for your team. Not all tools are created equal, and there is a wide variety of options on the market. That means that depending on the type of collaboration environment you’re trying to create in your team, there’s a tool for you.

Some collaboration tools encourage a more free flow team communication structure where team members are in constant communication on a range of topics, some focus on providing teams with creative space for collaborating on projects, some focus more on direct peer to peer or group messaging, and some have higher levels of cybersecurity protections than others. Regardless of your team’s style, there should be an option for you.

Below you will find several collaboration tool options that cover a wide range of customer needs. After identifying what ideal collaboration looks like on your team, you will hopefully find a tool to try out. Luckily, all of these options offer either free trials or free reduced service use, which means that before committing fully to a paid version you can test several of them.

Collaboration Tool Options

1. Podio

A cloud-based collaboration tool, Podio focuses on providing customers with tools for project management and organizing data and content. Podio also offers several mobile versions and integrates with other popular external services, making it one of the easier options to combine with other popular tools. Given its project management focus, Podio is probably a good option for teams with multiple large workflows happening at once.

2. Flock

A collaboration tool focused on team messaging, Flock provides teams with communication channels organized around different themes, as well as peer to peer and group messaging. Flock also has several standard collaboration features such as video conferencing and file sharing. The emphasis on team messaging makes Flock a good choice for those looking for a more free-flowing team discussion space approach.

3. Brosix IM

A collaboration tool with security in the forefront, Brosix IM provides teams with private communication and collaboration networks. Brosix networks include a wide range of collaboration features, full data encryption and are fully administrable by customers. This makes Brosix IM a good choice for security-conscious teams that want full control over their collaboration tool.

4. Trello

Another collaboration tool option focused on managing workflows, projects, and tasks, Trello provides teams with visual mapping of their work through online ‘boards.’ These boards allow teams to assign and track tasks on larger projects. The emphasis in Trello is on visualization, making it a good option for teams which prefer to be able to see exactly where there work stands.

5. Webex

A collaboration tool specifically designed for video conferencing, meetings and trainings, Cisco’s Webex is a tool for a range of video hosting needs. With Webex, remote teams can stay connected and collaborate visually on the Webex platform. The focus on video conferencing and lack of collaboration features available in other tools means that Webex is a good solution for teams with the specific challenge of staying visually connected.

Final Thoughts

Making an informed choice will mean first taking the time to reflect on the type of collaboration environment you want to create for your team, and then digging in and doing the research on different collaboration tools. This can be a time-consuming process, but the investment is well worth it in the long run. In the end, using a team collaboration tool can truly unlock your team’s productivity, but only if it’s the right one to meet your specific needs.