Five tools to increase collaboration in your business

UK SMES needs to be able to easily communicate with partners, anywhere in the world. Here are the best apps to help with collaboration.

The business world runs on effective collaboration resulting in innovative ideas and a more efficient working environment.

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There are so many collaboration and project management tools out there, that deciding on which ones will ultimately help your business is a tough decision. We have rounded up the top five tools to increase collaboration in your business with a few words on how they can help you be more efficient.

Red Pen

This is one for the designers out there. Red Pen allows you to upload your content, pinpoint certain parts, add comments, house designs under projects and best of all have an unlimited amount of collaborators offering criticism on the design.

Its interface is simple to use and it encourages second, third, fourth…unlimited opinions on designs.

A nifty little trick it holds is the ability to have unlimited versions of designs, so if you and your team decide that version 3 was better than 72, fortunately you can revert back. It’s free for 14 days so don’t hesitate to give it a go in your business.

Hootsuite

The social media management tool that encourages you to stay connected and publish from all of your social media channels at once, allowing for seamless representation of your business.

Problems can arise when numerous people manage the same social media account; multiple people responding to the same message or tweet, for example. Hootsuite makes sure only one person replies, and then tells the rest of the team who has made the reply. This allows the team to see what is going on with customers but not tread on each others toes.

It also allows you to designate projects and give leaders access to different social media channels, which in turn means a consistent brand image is reflected onto customers. On top of this it is just a very useful tool to connect with customers across social media platforms, after all, collaboration doesn’t have to be just between employees.

VIA Skype for Business

Communication and collaboration can often get messy. VIA’s Skype for Business is an adapted model of Skype’s business communication tool of the same name. VIA have added more features like call routing, contact centre functionality and FCA standard call recording.

VIA’s Skype for Business product is entirely cloud based (making it a UCaaS – unified communications as a service) product and meaning that implementation is much easier than other solutions, and much better for your P&L too.

To encourage collaboration they have essentials like conference calling, screen sharing and group messaging, but also remote working inclusion. This essentially lets users outside of the office be hooked up on the same network, so someone working from home for example, is technically linked to customers and colleagues via the cloud.

It also has a useful integration with Microsoft Office 365, which means there can be communication and collaboration across all of your Microsoft applications like Outlook and Sharepoint.

Trello

Picture post-its on screen with lots of colour and images – that’s Trello. Calendars, to-do lists, design briefs, file sharing are all set up in this colourful project management tool, available on the Google Playstore and Appstore as well as desktop.

Its interface is truly how it stands out from the crowd, with cards segmenting every part of a project down to the messages the team shares.

It reads and is designed like a giant whiteboard that everyone can edit and interact with, making projects easier to manage when everyone can see how it is progressing and what needs doing next. It also boasts functionality with Evernote, Dropbox and Giphy to name a few applications, which slot into these project boards seamlessly. Every project board needs the essential memes in gif format, it is widely known across businesses.

Teamviewer

This takes screen sharing to the next level with remote control of users’ computers. If you wish to show a remote worker how to use a certain software or make edits on their computer in a file, Teamviewer will allow you to do just this.

Collaboration will be improved when the two of you are literally working on one computer, however this will have to be used in very specific instances when an individual needs to be shown something step-by-step, for example. Alternatively, a remote worker can quickly access a document on a work computer without the need of using the time of their colleagues.

Alex Tebbs is co-owner and sales director at VIA

Further reading on business collaboration

Related Topics

Small Business Apps

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