By Destiny Heimbecker, Marketing Manager
Organizations of all sizes have turned to online collaboration and communication tools to get their employees out of their inbox and back to work. In order to figure out what will work best for your organization, you need to look at your office culture and try to understand your collaboration needs.
Are the teams located in one office or spread out across offices all over the world—or is the entire team remote? Discovering the right collaboration technology for the company to adopt will help employees be more productive.
When your organization is ready to invest in new collaboration tools, you can opt for an all-in-one system—which might be a company intranet or work management platform—or you can go ala-cart and choose what will work best. Most tools can be customized for your business and can also be integrated with apps you may already use.
Cisco Spark is a real-time communication system where teammates can message one another, but it is much more sophisticated than a simple text exchange. For example, Spark allows you to store and archive messages, meaning you can search and find an old conversation if you need to reference it. You can use hashtags to mark keywords in conversations so that other teammates, who might not be in on the conversation now, can quickly look up relevant chat histories later. There is also an alert system, so the right people's ears will prick up when an important conversation is happening on a topic that's central to their work.
Cisco Spark also allows users to meet, message, or call from the cloud. Users can easily and quickly move from one type of communication to another—turning a phone call into a video meeting with content sharing, or switching from a room system to a mobile phone. Its ability to connect local calendar servers to the cloud also allows users to start meetings or join from mobile devices automatically.
Barco ClickShare is a solution that doesn’t reside on a network, can host up to 64 users at one time, provides high-quality video and audio, and doesn't affect bandwidth or connectivity of existing wireless networks. End users can share content from a computer, laptop, or mobile device over a Wi-Fi signal. The content is then projected onto a TV, projector, or monitor in high definition, all with just a click of a button.
Polycom's RealPresence Centro is designed as a collaboration and content-sharing hub for local and remote work teams. The camera captures everyone in the room, even if you’re moving around and the microphones and powered speakers provide high-quality audio. Content sharing capabilities allow local and remote teams to share, annotate, and save content. Integration with Microsoft Outlook also makes it easy to start collaborating with one touch. The RealPresence Centro is so easy to use it requires very little training, and it can be integrated with remote teams to communicate and be seen, making the meetings more interactive and easier for content sharing.
Throwing a new tool at a bunch of people and telling them to use it instead of email will never fly. To start using a collaboration tool successfully, all the key players on the team need to buy into it—and it has to be integrated into the existing corporate culture for it to work.