Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “We offer the latest and most revolutionary advancement in collaboration software, and it will change the way you and your company works. You’ll never be unproductive again.”
A bit passé, right?
Collaboration software is insanely hot right now, and at the rate that new and innovative ways to collaborate are being developed, we’ll probably be able to read each other’s minds in a few years. In the meantime, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of products that proclaim to increase your productivity… So let’s break it down in a way that’s a bit more palpable.
Here are the 3 pillars of collaboration software:
- File sharing and management
- Messaging and communication
- Work Tracking
File Sharing and Management
Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Quip, Flight
Storing, sharing, and managing documents and files are necessities for every and any industry. After a file or document has been created with an authoring tool, there has to be a central repository for teams to work from. File storage services offer a safe, cloud-based location for uploading and downloading those files.
It’s important to note that some file management products are more specialized for specific types of content. For media files like images and videos, a digital asset management system gives teams more management and collaborative options for stored content. DAM also connects with file storage service platforms, in case a company collaborates with outsiders who use those free storage services. For written content, products like Quip are designed to provide the right collaborative features for developing copy.
Regular file storage services like Google Drive, Box, and Dropbox simply provide a repository for any file. If your creative or marketing team needs something more involved, look beyond the normal cloud-based file dumps.
Messaging and Communication
Gmail, Slack, Skype
Collaboration can’t happen without communication. Having a dedicated product for handling messaging is handy to have and, when used effectively, can really speed things up. Gmail is great for basic emailing needs, and Gchat instant messaging works as a quick way to get in touch. For a more robust team-based instant chat with a lot of custom options fitted to an organization, Slack is the way to go (we absolutely love using it here). And of course, Skype is still the king when it comes to video messaging.
Asana, Basecamp, Trello
Organized files and quick messages are handy, but there still needs to be a resource for keeping everyone on track. Work tracking products do more than just progress tracking and deadline alerts: they’re designed to provide customized work tracking solutions that fit an organization’s needs. Basecamp and Trello provide simplified work tracking that works excellently for many organizations. Asana is a more involved and robust option, providing solutions that can scale to large enterprise organizations that have varying workflow needs.