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4 Main Types of Collaboration Software [Bonus: Free Collaboration Software]

 

 

Part 1
What Is Online Collaboration Software?

Online collaboration software is typically built for organizations who want to increase productivity, communication flow, and overall performance.

  • It allows for several users to share, process, and manage files. They are also able to work on projects remotely at the same time, as well as communicate and strategize.
  • This software enables workers to continue to work together regardless of their location or time zone.
  • Users can create a virtual workspace to share with others.
  • One piece of technology innovation that has made current collaboration programs possible is cloud computing.
  • Cloud computing allows workers to access data and information that is kept on a virtual server. Employees no longer have to depend on access to physical company computers.

Since collaboration software lets employees communicate with one another at any point, many now wonder if email clients are still as necessary as they once were. Workers can now simultaneously work and dialogue, seemingly pushing away the need for routine email communications.

  • Recent data revealed that workers spend 4.1 hours checking email each day, this amounts to over 20 hours a week.
  • Also, 79 percent of respondents to a survey by Adobe said they check their work email while on vacation.
  • Couple this information with the fact that it takes 64 seconds to recover from a work email, the time dedicated to it increases.

This data reveals why many organizations have begun to look at other ways to keep employees productive.

Online collaboration software allows employees to share messages with each other as they work. Also, since collaboration software such as ProsperForms is task or topic driven, it is more likely that employees will keep conversations about what they are currently working on.

ProsperForms – free collaboration software (click here to create your account)

Part 2
Types of Collaboration Software

  1. Communication and Task/Project Status Sharing

    Many times, this type of software will facilitate instant messaging between workers. Employees can see what others are working on and what their work status is. This can also be a shared work base where employees can access common documents or policies set forth by the organization.
    Status.net is the leading free software for communication and status updates.

  2. Project Collaboration and Coordination

    This tool enables workers to create teams or sub-teams with the sole purpose of completing a project. Typically, employees will have various workstations that others can join. They will likely have the ability to share project documents or other forms that other employees within the team can work on remotely and at the same time. The tool should be able to allow employees to set deadlines and communicate with fellow team members.
    Fluxes.com is a good example of a free software collaboration tool for projects. It allows to create projects, to-do lists and tasks, assign lists and tasks to team members, set deadlines and receive reminders about upcoming deadlines, and attach files and messages to tasks for sharing files and conversations in context.

  3. Conferencing

    There might be occasions when team members need to speak face-to-face to share project updates. This is where web conferencing comes into play. These tools allow team members to share screens and watch each other via video. These tools are an efficient way of complementing project management/collaboration or social sharing software.
    Skype.com and Google Hangouts are examples of free cloud tools for audio and video conferencing. Both allow to talk to your team members regardless of their location. Calendly is a free tool which is often used to painlessly set up an online meeting time.

  4. Knowledge Sharing

    In recent years, wiki documents have become increasingly popular. They allow users to edit documents efficiently. This software could easily be applied to the workplace. If managers are working on a procedural report that will be shared with others, then it would make sense to have readily identifiable and editable workplace program documents.
    Google Docs and Status.net are examples of free cloud collaboration tools which are often used for knowledge sharing. Check our simple guide about how to build an internal knowledge base . Knowledge sharing is also very useful for onboarding new employees, here is a how-to guide with a sample checklist.

Status.net – free collaboration software (click here to create your account)

ProsperForms — set up a form and start receiving submissions from your colleagues in minutes. 100+ forms available: reports, logs, requests, etc. or build your own. View and manage submissions on Timeline and Dashboard screens, generate PDF reports. Get Started

Part 3
Benefits of Online Collaboration Tools

There are many benefits that employers should be aware of when they consider the collaboration tool they should bring into their company to ease the influence of email. Many revolve around convenience and immediate communication response.

  • Less Restrictive

    There are many restrictions to email that online collaboration tools do not possess. For example, if a document is over a certain file size it cannot be sent over email. Also, specific email accounts have firewall provisions that may filter out even the most innocent message. Online collaboration tools take this element away.

  • Increased Control

    Once an email is sent, the sender has no idea what became of the message. It could have been mistakenly sent to the wrong person, ended up in a junk folder, or the recipient could have missed it because of the many other emails they likely have. Collaboration software ensures that messages instantly reach those who need to see them.

  • Streamlined Communications

    Instead of workers having to comb through emails to find specific messages, they can easily participate in discussion threads in their collaboration software. Correspondence goes right to those who are intended to receive them.

  • An Increase in Productivity

    Usually the removal of email and the addition of collaboration software makes teams more agile and responsive. The collaborative software allows for an increase in workflow and unified communications, two crucial factors that contribute to productivity.

  • Easier Employee Transitions

    When someone leaves the company, their work email will likely house valuable information the next person coming in needs to have access to. On ProsperForms all information, knowledge, and processes remain with your company:

    — One-click removal of a person from all reporting apps and discussions
    — Quick reassigning to any other team member, if needed
    — All data is still available, including export to .pdf for any date range.

ProsperForms – free collaboration software (click here to create your account)

customer feedback log customer requests

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employee information management

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ProsperForms — set up a form and start receiving submissions from your colleagues in minutes. 100+ forms available: reports, logs, requests, etc. or build your own. View and manage submissions on Timeline and Dashboard screens, generate PDF reports. Get Started

 

supplier information management

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vendor information management

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ProsperForms — set up a form and start receiving submissions from your colleagues in minutes. 100+ forms available: reports, logs, requests, etc. or build your own. View and manage submissions on Timeline and Dashboard screens, generate PDF reports. Get Started
project request

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time off request

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travel request

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work order

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ProsperForms – free collaboration software (click here to create your account)