Defining collaboration software
Collaboration software is among the most important tools in any company’s arsenal today.
Created to provide teams with access to a “virtual workplace” where they can chat, share information, and access important tools, collaboration software takes the business out of the office, and into the cloud. In the new age of hybrid and remote work, this technology is the core of any business.
Yet, even as the demand for collaboration software continues to grow, some people are left wondering what the term really means. Is collaboration software the Zoom video meetings you host every other day? Or the Microsoft Teams channels you have running for your marketing group?
Here’s a simple definition to put you on the right track.
What is Collaboration Software?
Collaboration software isn’t an entirely new concept.
For years, companies have used emails, instant messaging solutions, and cloud storage sites to connect with colleagues. These days, the various tools required for collaboration tend to be offered in a more aligned format, as part of a complete “platform” for digital success.
Usually, when people refer to collaboration software today, they’re talking about innovative solutions like Microsoft Teams. Notably, these tools aren’t just video conferencing services (VCaaS) or instant messaging solutions. Instead, a collaboration suite is an entire ecosystem of technology designed to bring people together wherever they are.
There are many varieties of collaboration software out there, some come with things like time tracking tools and workplace analytics. Others focus on things like creative brainstorming sessions and digital whiteboards. The majority of collaboration solutions, however, are based in a cloud environment, so employees can access them anywhere.
Leading analyst Gartner defines collaboration alongside web conferencing and shared workspace tools, as a solution that “supports interaction between participants”.
Essentially, collaboration software allows the sharing, management, and processing of knowledge and teamwork among various users and systems in a cloud environment. Although it may include things like video conferencing, or digital whiteboarding, collaboration software can be anything that brings people together to share information and ideas.
What Can Collaboration Software Do?
Collaborative software as we know it today is a world apart from the tools we used to have. Originally known as groupware back in the 1990s, collaboration software was a communication solution that connected people in different environments. Today, collaboration software supports the effective sharing and management of information on a much greater scale.
Collaboration tools can assist in bringing employees together in real-time, through video conferencing, chat, and audio conferencing in a synchronous environment. However, it’s also there for asynchronous efforts, like assigning projects to team members in the remote workforce, or helping staff to track valuable deadlines.
As mentioned above, the features of your collaboration software can vary depending on the kind of solution you buy. Some options include:
In some collaboration tools, you can also find extra features like intelligent assistants or automated solutions that handle tasks on behalf of team members.
The Benefits of Collaboration Software
For years, collaboration software has been gaining popularity as a more efficient and flexible alternative to old-fashioned tools like email. Now that the remote working landscape is taking over and employees are spending less time speaking face-to-face, collaboration tools have become an essential part of the business.
In the modern landscape, where work is something you do, rather than somewhere you go, collaboration software keeps everyone connected in the same digital environment. Within the collaborative landscape, businesses can pull their teams together wherever they are and ensure that information flows smoothly throughout the company.
Collaboration software is designed to boost productivity and align the workforce, wherever your staff members might be. Today, as it continues to become an essential part of our day-to-day environment, many companies are also embedding collaboration tools into other solutions, like CCaaS technology.
In the future, collaboration software could become a single part of a much larger communication, collaboration, and contact centre stack of as-a-service tools.