Bingo! Team Collaboration Software Edition
Finding the best team collaboration tools can be a chore. Most organizations end up with many team collaboration software options due to user preference or inherited app from mergers and acquisitions.
As collaboration tools for business spiral out of control, we’ve created our version of an old classic – conference call bingo!
Print it, save it, share it, and mark it up when you use a phrase. Then send it to us on our Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll feature you in our tweets and our newsletter!
Online collaboration tools range from the widely recognized – like Microsoft Teams and Webex – to those designed for bespoke use cases and niche audiences – like Mattermost, for example.
You probably think whichever team collaboration app you’re using is the best. That’s called personal preference – and no doubt boosts your productivity.
But, the notion that the best collaboration tools are the one you use could be the complete opposite for someone else in your organization.
To improve collaboration between departments, Mio exists to bring together the team collaboration software in use within your business.
(Mio provides interoperability between the major team collaboration software platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Cisco Webex. If you use more than one team collaboration app and would rather you didn’t have to, click here to learn more about Mio.)
Which is a collaboration tool? What is online collaboration software? What are collaboration apps?
Online collaboration tools, collaboration apps, and team collaboration software are synonymous. While the industry has matured over the last few years, no one term has stuck to describe platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams.
This doesn’t help you as an IT Manager so hopefully the following does…
You can recognize a “collaboration tool” or any of its other names if it has any of the following features or qualities:
- Team collaboration apps
- Team collaboration tools
- Collaboration apps
- Collaboration tools
- Team messaging
- Instant messaging
- Asynchronous messaging
- Team collaboration software
- Collaboration software
- Digital workplace
- Digital workspace
- Channel-based messaging (Slack’s definition of what Slack is)
- Chat-based workspace (Microsoft’s definition of what Teams is)
- Collaboration solution (Cisco’s definition of what Webex is)
Examples of online collaboration software include:
- Microsoft Teams
- Cisco Webex
- Google Chat
There is also a raft of tools we’ve identified as Skype for Business alternatives. If you’re looking for a replacement and team collaboration software is on your agenda, you should check out this article:
We’ve also identified 50 apps like Slack. If you’ve heard of Slack but your company has chosen to block Slack, your next team collaboration app could be in this post:
What tools can I use to collaborate online?
You can use any of these team collaboration tools to collaborate:
- Microsoft Teams
- Cisco Webex
- Google Chat
- Skype for Business
And any of the online collaboration tools mentioned in any of the above articles.
If you’re unsure of which team collaboration tool is right for you, use this comparison chart to help you choose.
In some (most) cases, businesses have more than one running in tandem.
When this is the case, there are two scenarios.
- The business suffers from workplace silos
- The business uses an interoperability tool like Mio to allow cross-platform messaging.
Assuming the later is your preference, Mio allows you to run multiple team collaboration tools in a joined-up manner.
Users can stay in their preferred app and message other users in your organization who prefer other apps. For example, Microsoft Teams users can message Slack users without leaving Microsoft Teams.
This means you don’t have to force users of one team collaboration app onto another and your communication stack remains unified throughout your entire organization.
What are the best collaboration tools for teamwork?
If the primary goal for your team collaboration software is to improve teamwork, you need to look outside of the technology itself.
While the leading platforms like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Slack (and the majority of other platforms) all excel in improving teamwork, it’s how you use team collaboration software that will improve teamwork.
For example, if you are rolling out Slack for the first time, make sure all your users know how to use it. More importantly, make sure they know how everyone else will be using it.
Take the time to create some in-house Slack guidelines.
Take inspiration from these Slack best practices.
The same is true for all team collaboration software.
Even if you’re moving from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams, the tools and features available are different. These may take some getting use to as habits change from instant messaging to asynchronous channel-based messaging.
Again, if Teams is your team collaboration tool of choice, create some in-house guidelines.
Take inspiration from these Microsoft Teams best practices.
What is the best online collaboration tool?
The answer here is dependent on your business and user needs.
There is no catch-all online collaboration tool, despite what marketing teams want you to think.
Many use cases have evolved for all of the team collaboration software options in the market today.
They span from using Microsoft Teams for sales to running marketing campaigns in Slack.
Then think about the number of Webex meetings you’ve been part of – even though Webex wasn’t in your collaboration stack.
The number of Webex Meetings users who find Webex their best choice because of the familiar layout is staggering.
In fact, 31% of people said they prefer the user interface of Webex.
With these use cases – and a ton more – appearing across the globe, there is no winner in the enterprise messaging wars.
With all this choice, it becomes overwhelming to choose a single platform and a headache to manage.
This is why Mio exists.
When a business cannot choose between two (or more) team collaboration tools, the decision is often taken to go cold turkey and force all users to use one tool.
While on paper, this sounds like the right idea, here’s what you create:
- Unhappy users
- Unnecessary migrations
- Shadow IT
- New training time and resource
- Confusion of which app to use and when
- Vendor lock-in
- Risk of lack of disaster recovery plan
What you could do instead is consolidate your team collaboration tools to the two most popular apps in your business.
Once these are decided, join together the messaging experience by installing Mio in the background.
For example, if you choose Cisco Webex and Slack, you can connect these two apps by syncing your messaging platforms.
Webex users can stay in Webex. Slack users can stay in Slack.
What are the best collaboration tools for startups?
It was long thought that Slack was the best collaboration tool for startups.
And that might still be true today.
But, Slack also has many large rollouts. Especially since the introduction of Slack Connect, Slack has been in use at enterprises like Zendesk. With over 3,500 members of staff, Slack has evolved past the best collaboration tool for startups.
In fact, 65% of businesses say they are using Slack somewhere in their business.
Like the answer to What is the best online collaboration tool? it again depends on your startup’s niche needs.
There is no catch-all online collaboration tool for startups.
What often happens is your business chooses a single tool. Let’s use Slack as an example.
While your startup is small, everyone uses Slack to chat for internal communication.
Then, when you need to speak with other organizations for partnerships, marketing, funding, or servicing your customers, you switch to their platform of choice.
By constantly switching between workspaces and apps, you lose time, context, and productivity.
What you could do is set up a universal channel from Slack (or whichever app you choose) and invite your contacts from other organizations to join from their platform of choice.
This way, your startup stays in Slack for internal communication. It also stays in Slack for all communication – even with other organizations that are using other platforms.
Sound good? You can install three universal channels for free here.
What is the most popular workplace collaboration tool?
While this is a question of personal preference, the are plenty of statistics available to answer this question.
Independent research shows that 65% of respondents said they are using Slack today, with Skype for Business in second place at 61.5%.
Next up is Microsoft Teams (59%) then Cisco Webex (50%).
What is most compelling about this research is the cross-section of responses who were using two or more team collaboration software options in their business.
91% of businesses use at least 2 messaging apps.
Microsoft Teams reported in 2020 that it has 115 million daily active users.
This is the largest number reported by any of the major team collaboration software vendors to date.
Now that we know what team collaboration software options are available, let’s look at where and how you should use collaboration tools.
Where should I use collaboration tools?
When your business exceeds the size where working synchronously all the time becomes even slightly unproductive.
If you’re working on a project or product and need to collaborate with more than one person outside of real-time, use collaboration tools.
Even on a one-on-one basis, collaboration tools can prove productive thanks to features like search history, persistent chat, channels, and message threads.
Collaboration tools also make for great community spaces.
For example, Remotive uses Slack as its community tool. You can see below that members have access to other members through various channels and messages.
How to increase collaboration between teams
When you’ve rolled out a new team collaboration app like Microsoft Teams, you might think it’s job done.
But, what about that small pocket of engineers who live and breathe Slack?
Or your sales team who use Webex because they’ve always used Webex Meetings to talk to prospects?
To increase collaboration between teams, follow these three steps:
- Let your staff choose their favorite app to use (from a list of approved apps like Microsoft Teams, Webex, Slack, Zoom Chat etc)
- Make these apps interoperable so you can message cross-platform
- Watch as users communicate more productively than ever
How do you make these apps interoperable?
Easy! Mio does the hard work for you in the background.
You just need to sign up and choose which platforms you wish to make interoperable.
Click here to book your customized demo of Mio.