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Ten Modern Enterprise Collaboration Tools Every VAR Should Offer

June 01, 2017

Ten Modern Enterprise Collaboration Tools Every VAR Should Offer

It is unfortunate that there is no single technology or tool that will effectively solve the challenges of enterprise collaboration. These challenges can be accommodated or diminished as needed through processes and technology with a clear view of what collaboration technology does for businesses today and determining the place of each technological advance in the organization. The latest tools primarily support new models of working together; for instance, social business and lightweight collaboration, or new technologies such as multi-point HD video, persistent chat, social business process support, collaborative analytics, and mobile interfaces.

These days, VARs must be able to show the modern enterprise at least these major tools and styles of collaboration:

  1. Email – Email is still the leading form of business communication, but intense competition from social and mobile technologies means its days are numbered as more effective ways of collaboration with more storage are adopted.

  2. Screen sharing – Another tactical but highly useful capability, screen sharing services allow workers to collaboratively work on any application together and provide support to each other and/or customers. These tools are being incorporated into existing collaboration platforms such as enterprise social media applications and simultaneous document editing.

  3. File sync and sharing – File sharing tools such as Dropbox have set the standard for easy sharing of files across all devices. This has led to other enterprise solutions to overcome the increasingly severe limitations that older tools such as email have in file sizes that they can support.

  4. Simultaneous document editing – Document sharing allows many users to work on a document simultaneously in real time. This capability offers high value to businesses in terms of productivity.

  5. VOIP – The migration to digital channels for voice calling and teleconferencing has been ongoing, as has been the blurring of voice on PCs, tablets, and phones. However, audio collaboration tends to be a conduit for transient knowledge that disappears when the call is over, and so it is not considered to be high leverage yet will still need to be supported for the foreseeable future.

  6. IM, chat, and persistent chat – There has been tremendous growth in IM, mobile device texting, enterprise social networking, and chat. In fact, 67 percent are using text messaging for business-related communications. These capabilities are simple to use, easy to adopt, and largely well-understood by the average worker. Persistent chat, as is used in enterprise social networking, is also a feature to ensure that important knowledge is captured and stored for reuse later.

  7. Virtual whiteboards – Virtual whiteboards make it easy for workers to collaborate on ideas in a visual way, graphically improving productivity.

  8. Videoconferencing – The intense consumer adoption of platforms such as Skype, Apple’s Facetime, and Google Hangouts has set a high level of expectation for how workers can perform in the workplace. Videoconferencing is a requirement for the up-and-coming generation of workers, and companies must be sure that the network infrastructure is in place to allow workers to fully exploit these capabilities.

  9. Unified communications and collaboration (UCC) – Creating a cohesive communications and collaboration environment is not a new idea, and unified communications (UCC) was envisioned as a solution to this.

  10. Collaboration suites – We also see major collaboration platforms today adding more features and integrations with other vendor’s collaboration platforms. For instance, IBM Connections and Jive both have many different modes for working together, from social networks and activity streams to forums, blogs, wikis, and chat capabilities.

One of the most contentious questions right now is whether to try to reduce the number of collaboration tools to make them more manageable or to increase them to support the number of schemes that large organizations typically have. More collaborative tech is harder to manage and more expensive. Less collaborative tech makes it more likely for enterprises to miss strategic opportunities that the right tools can offer. VARs can help customers by understanding their needs and requirements and showing them the best solution for their business.

Are there collaboration tools that should be discussed in this forum? Please comment below: