8 Smart Tips to Follow While Choosing Enterprise Collaboration Tools

By Anirban Guha on October 13, 2015

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Digital technology revolution has brought in a major change in improving workplace productivity today. If we look at statistical data, we will see that workplace productivity has increased almost by 90% in the last 50 years through implementation of smart enterprise collaboration tools.

With whole lot of such tools available in the market, offering plethora of opportunities to different businesses, there are ample reasons to be careful while choosing the right one that suits your specific business and team requirement. As a customer, you should be aware about the type of enterprise collaboration tool you want to make your team more productive and competitive.

A smart and efficient enterprise collaboration software has the potential to increase employee mobility and enable staff to access company data anywhere and anytime, especially in a remote team environment. On the other hand, it enables top management to focus on core responsibilities that would boost return on investment (ROI).

There are some enterprises which in order to be more productive and competitive, uses a shared document repository, which is considered to be the simplest and least expensive approach. Here we have provided few easy tips that would help you to take smart decisions while choosing the right collaboration tool for your enterprise.

1. Identify the exact business need – It is essential for you to know why you actually need an enterprise collaboration tool for your business. If you are certain about it then it will make your buying process lot easier. Many companies often make the mistake of buying a collaboration tool without properly identifying their actual requirement or business goal. Buying any type of software without proper information and assessment ultimately leads to bad investment; moreover the expenditure of switching software could be extremely high. Consulting with senior management, external software experts etc. are advisable before selecting the enterprise collaboration tool for your business.  

2. Start with developing a collaboration strategy – If you have a collaboration strategy in place, it becomes easy for you to address the problems properly. To begin with, try to understand the problems in your enterprise and how right collaboration can resolve those issues. Based on the analysis, you can decide on the tools that will suit your business need.

3. Consider the long-term goal – When you are considering which enterprise collaboration tool will meet your business requirement, same time also consider what would be the long term goal of the tool. If you have decided to get your tool from a third-party developer, make it a point to evaluate the credential of the developer properly before you assign the job. It is always good to consult with experienced developers to get a better idea about the software’s longevity. The more you talk to relevant experts; you will know which software could be more compatible with other technology and benefit your business, and then decide whether to invest in it or not.

4. Gather and analyse user’s feedback – Getting feedback from customers who have previously used or are using a particular company’s software is one of the best options to know how the product is recognised in the market. Talk to as many existing customers who are using the tool, and definitely you will get a mixed reaction on the product that will help you to judge correctly. A happy customer who has used the product for more than one year can give you a proper idea about the software and its credibility. In addition, CIOs who have used the product can be a good source to get feedback about a software.       

5. Take advantage of trial period – Analysing a tool during its trial period could definitely be one of the options to find out whether it is fit for your business. As part of their promotional strategy, several enterprise software companies offer a trial period version of their product for a limited time. This could be your opportunity to use the software and observe how effective it is in addressing problems pertaining to your business.  If you are not satisfied with the software during its trial period, you can ask the vendor to make modifications and make it ready for general deployment.

6. Don’t take security issues lightly – While the security aspect should be the top priority when choosing an enterprise collaboration tool, but in most cases it is overlooked by many customers. Your selection criteria should actually begin from scrutinizing the software’s proven track record in terms of security before investing on the software. It is certainly not going to be worth your investment, if the software you are considering for your organisation is not capable of securing corporate data.

7. Focus more on test-based selection process – If you want to ensure that the enterprise collaboration tool you are buying is worth every money you spent, you have to stress more on testing, unless you are fully satisfied with its performance. Most organizations consider it as time consuming and try to deviate from testing, instead the senior management should ask how crucial the technology is for the business. To make the testing process faster, depend more on testable and narrative use cases.  

8. Free enterprise collaboration tools – It’s a common trend that most enterprise owners initially think of the reputed and big names when it comes to choosing the right enterprise collaboration tool, but all such leading tools come at a heavy price. For enterprise owners who are still at a startup level and require collaboration tools that don’t impact their budget, here is a list of free tools. 

  • Co-op
  • Cyn.in
  • CubeTree
  • Hashwork
  • Jaiku
  • Obayoo
  • Present.ly
  • Qontext
  • Sharetronix
  • Snipia
  • Socialcast
  • Socialwok

Choosing the perfect enterprise collaboration tool might take some time, but definitely its better than selecting the wrong one in a jiffy. To be confident about your selection, analyse what exactly is your need, what are your options and gather knowledge via hands-on use.


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