Top 10 communication and collaboration tools

Apps and other software tools can enable improved communication and collaboration within the workplace – here’s a guide to ten of the best

01. Box

boxBox has gone to great pains to position itself as more than just a simple online data storage website or service. Charismatic chief executive Aaron Levie has used his media forays to explain how Box represents a wider technology proposition as an online file-sharing and content management service. Box allows users to share, collaborate and manage information based upon projects and user privileges or by a variety of other information access policies. The software attempts to counter the problem of disaggregated file-sharing across e-mail, video, voice, social channels and so on, and bring everything into a single content system.

02. Fleep

fleepFleep is a messenger service for teams and projects. It is built by members of the team behind Skype. Fleep operates an open network, so users can communicate with anyone, inside or outside the organisation, enabling so-called ultimate project communication. Fleep’s teams of professionals can consist of any combination or number of Fleep users and/or e-mail address participants. The software is optimised for productivity by offering the receiver a platform that supports non-intrusive communication with no online status alerts or repeat notifications. As such, Fleep provides a platform for collaborative conversations and may reduce the “noise” associated with traditional workplace communications.

03. Skype for Business Recording

telewareTeleware’s Skype for Business (SfB) Recording is a cloud-based enhancement to plain Skype with a web interface for voice recording, retrieval, replay and archiving of Skype calls. The product can be integrated into a communications infrastructure with enough control to meet the governance and quality management restrictions present in most firms. Users can be added or removed when needed within what is promised to be a secure framework. There is tamper-evident call-recording for regulatory compliance plus encrypted call-recording. Both inbound and outbound calls are recorded, and files can be filtered or transcribed, and users can choose how long they are stored.

04. tibbr

tibbrTIBCO Software’s tibbr has been on the market since 2011. This workplace collaboration tool brings together people, files, data, devices and entire IT systems. The concept is all about combining structured and unstructured information sources in one place for knowledge-sharing. The software is available across desktop, web and mobile. It works on Apple iOS, Android, and the BlackBerry and Windows platforms. The tibbr software itself is deployed on-site in a firm’s own IT department or can supplied as a cloud service. It connects to conferencing technologies and file-sharing services, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Huddle and SharePoint.

05. Join.me

joinmeThe logically named Join.me by remote connectivity firm LogMeIn is an online meeting tool that requires a free download before you can use it. It provides free screen-sharing, unlimited audio and simple video-conferencing. It’s different because most web-conferencing and collaboration tools have been designed to replicate formal boardroom-style meetings, but Join.me has been designed from a mobile-first, multi-device perspective. So yes, you could use it to organise a family gathering or as a party planning online video conference, without the boardroom suit look and feel. There’s even a fun whiteboard for everyone to draw on, virtually of course.

06. Workfront

workfrontWorkfront aims to help project management by streamlining peoples’ workflows. What that actually means is software automation intelligence capable of combining instant messaging, task allocation and time management. Its makers claim it will kill off excessive e-mail, redundant status meetings and disconnected software tools that can distract users’ attention spans. Every aspect of a project is controllable from task delegation to tracking and reporting. Workfront’s document manager and digital proofing tools integrate with other major business applications, including Box, Dropbox and Google Drive.

07. Slack

slackWhat began as a messaging tool for video game developers has evolved into the full-service collaboration platform we now call Slack. This messaging platform for teams presents a single unified archive with a search function. The software integrates with popular services such as Twitter and Dropbox. Slack has also built an ecosystem of partners, chatbots and integrations for additional functionality. The software is popular for its ability to counter the reply-all e-mail chain scenario that most of us know all too well. Instead, it provides persistent chatrooms or channels organised by topic. Slack can be used across multiple devices and allows both one-on-one messages and group conversations to be shared in channels. Teams who use Slack claim to see an average 48.6 per cent reduction in internal e-mail.

08. Jive

jiveJive from Jive Software is an enterprise collaboration platform that has enjoyed particular success in financial and healthcare verticals. Firms using Jive can give their employees a personalised home page for individuals to be able to read just the company and work-related information they need when they login to their devices. The software connects people so that user-to-user interactions can be broken down by department. Crucially, it then allows IT administrators to analyse who is engaging with whom to pinpoint where productivity is flourishing and, obviously, where it isn’t. Chief executive Elisa Steele claims Jive allows firms to be “contextually aware” of their workforce.

09. SharePoint

sharepointMicrosoft’s SharePoint is a content management system that allows users to upload and share documents, images and videos with their colleagues and collaborators. Users can aggregate and track group edits while also maintaining version control. An encrypted service, SharePoint has a number of facilities to protect the security and fidelity of uploaded files. It is a browser-based solution, so it can be accessed from any internet-enabled mobile or desktop device. SharePoint can be installed on to on-site SharePoint servers or backed up on to Microsoft’s cloud to create a hybrid system. Launched back in 2001, SharePoint is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity software.

10. Chatter

salesforceSalesforce Chatter is essentially an enterprise-level social network for employees to connect with each other and with their customers and partners. Built with a Facebook-style interface, the software provides access to files, business processes and document collaboration functions. Users can use an @mention tag to flag posts. Salesforce designed Chatter to be used both with mobile devices and on desktops. The product comes standard with a set of Salesforce apps and integrates with most third-party software, such as SharePoint, Google Drive and Box.

Also found in Collaboration Technology