The Death of Email Memos: Four Tools for Workplace Collaboration
By Bob Hand Source: MV Group
For businesses, using email for internal communication can be a huge waste of time.
In order to stay competitive, businesses have to be efficient. To be efficient, there needs to be an effective way to communicate and collaborate. New applications are released every day to address the needs of business owners. Today, we will be looking at four popular tools for facilitating collaboration in the workplace:
Slack[Price: Free, additional features cost up to $12.50 per user, per month]
Slack is a messaging app for team communication. For free, business owners can use it for group chat and direct messages. It is also possible to integrate other apps and services into the program. All notifications — such as support requests, error logs, or sales leads — will appear within Slack. It can work as a hub that streamlines internal communication; according to the website for the program, businesses report a 48.6% reduction in internal mail.
There are numerous features that many users don’t even know about. Custom emojis, reminders, and chatroom bots are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what users can do in Slack.
Reviews for Slack are positive. PC Mag states that it is great for nonessential communication and has a great variety of options. They dislike the fact that there is no task-management or other collaboration features. As a free tool for internal communication, there is no debate that it beats memos or emails. There are paid plans that unlock additional features, such as increased file storage, two-factor authentication, and 24/7 support.
GoToMeeting[Price: $19-$49/month — depending on what features you want]
If you need a video conferencing or webinar tool, consider using GoToMeeting. This service gives businesses a convenient way to schedule and hold video conferences. It allows up to six high-definition video feeds per session. During a session, control can be remotely given to any attendee. This makes GoToMeeting ideal for collaborative presentations. Afterwards, users can send out a recording of the meeting with one click.
GoToMeeting has many useful features for collaboration. It has built-in voice over IP (VoIP) for audio conferences. Desktop and application sharing is possible, and there are drawing tools that can be used to direct attention to particular elements of what you are sharing. The program is compatible with practically every operating system and can be used on mobile devices through an official app.
Reviews are mostly positive. GoToMeeting is easy-to-use and has a great variety of features. Conferences usually work as advertised, though there are occasional technical difficulties, like dropped calls. There is a occasionally a delay in screen sharing, which can make presentations or demos awkward.
Clarizen[Price: $60-80 per user, per month — depending on what features you want]
Clarizen is a cloud-based project management software. It seeks to integrate discussions, processes, and work content into one streamlined experience. Entrepreneurs can use templates that match their needs or create their own. Users can chat within the program with other users in order to collaborate. Workers can even be productive on the go. Using the mobile app, one can get project updates, assign tasks, and submit tickets.
A major focus of the app is keeping as much relevant data as possible, so users can make educated decisions. It is even possible to import projects from Excel or Microsoft Project. Among the types of data you can manage are financials, team member information, and project information. Data from other programs can be integrated as well. For businesses who need help organizing and streamlining workflow, Clarizen seems to be unmatched
The program has received very positive reviews from users, who praise it for being accessible and multifaceted. One user stated that support for the program is “nearly unprecedented”, and that customer support is readily available. On the downside, some users have reported that initially customizing the program can be time consuming. Furthermore the mobile app is currently only available on IOS devices.
Ventrilo[Price: Free, but a “Pro” license costs an undisclosed fee]
While some readers might associate Ventrilo with marathon World of Warcraft sessions, there are actually some uses for it in the workplace. It is a proprietary VoIP software that can be used as a audio conferencing tool. It is easy to use and manage. Ventrilo can be used to conduct long distance group discussions. The program can also be used in tandem with other collaborative software that don’t provide voice support.
Users are generally positive about Ventrilo. Given that the program is free, it is hard to find much to complain about. It works as advertised and can be a valuable tool. For small businesses, Ventrilo may be a good choice.
However, for larger businesses that will have many simultaneous users, a “Pro” license is required. The minimum requirements to purchase a pro license are strangely anti-consumer. For example, one stipulation that the user must agree to is that their need for additional slot counts is expected to grow continually. Vague criteria and threatening verbiage regarding litigation discredits Ventrilo as an option for larger businesses.
As more collaborative software is released every day, the need to use memo emails has disappeared. This has been a boon to entrepreneurs everywhere. Try out some of these applications for yourself, and see how productive your business can truly be.