TECH TIP OF THE MONTH: Collaboration
This month's tech tip will be about collaboration software. In my day job we are constantly testing collaboration software. We started with Skype, Email, Slack, Yammer and finally Microsoft Teams. Each one of these had their pros and cons. Some had more cons than pros. I'm going to focus on the two best ones. Slack and Microsoft Teams. Collaboration software
or groupware is an application software designed to help people involved in a common task to achieve their goals. One of the earliest definitions of collaborative
software is "intentional group processes plus software to support them". (source
Our use case was a department of 5 spread throughout 4 states and 2 countries. We wanted a way to communicate better and save conversations for future use. We also wanted a way to upload files to review instead of email. Our goal was to use email less and collaborate more using a complete software package. It had to be in one platform and not multiple to ensure it would be used.
Slack is by far the best collaboration software we used to date. If you haven't tried Slack and you want to collaborate more then TRY THIS SOFTWARE. Slack has a great pricing model where you can try it out for free for a unlimited time. You get access to the main features but some limitations. So what do you get with Slack? One of the best parts of slack is creating channels for each "project" or "idea" you are working on. In our example we had a slack dedicated to each office and projects. Creating a channel was easy and it allowed us to segregate a topic if its getting to be to big. We also setup a general channel for the majority of conversations and if it got to big moved it to a channel. You can also link other services like Todoist, dropbox, and other services. Finally one of the features that made slack stand out from the others is notifications. You can get slack on all mobile devices and OS's. The notifications from slack to me were better and more often. the other services would be delayed in letting you know there was a new message or someone was direct messaging you. Slack did a outstanding job of handling notifications. If i had to do it all over i would choose slack to begin with because it is the best collaboration software.
The last product we reviewed and currently using now is Microsoft Teams. Because we use Office 365 this was included in our subscription so for the fact it was no additional cost and had some of the same features of slack we moved to this. Teams allows you to create channels based on topics and it as simple as Slack. We went with the same concept as Slack and built channels based on offices only. Our goal was to move all communication into those channels and get away from project specific channels and direct messages. Teams also links up to other Office 365 software which made this a good option. Adding people to channels is easy since everyone is already in Office 365. The only downside to teams is notifications. Without some hacking and searching for features you can get notifications but its a bit cumbersome. Eventually we figure out a way but its cumbersome while slack was easier to use. I would recommend Teams if cost is a factor and you already have a Office 365 subscription.