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Collaborative Apps that Drives Teamwork

Written By Lara Lee

To successfully lead the people working with you, you need to build a culture that promotes teamwork. This is not always easy if you’re managing teams who do not get together often.

Fortunately, there are now many apps that facilitate group collaboration, especially if your team works on-the-go.

Choosing a collaborative app for your team is as good as seeking out the best office space, cafe or co-working space to station themselves; a collaborative app that your team can enjoy working on efficiently can boost team communication and hence, productivity.

Most apps are free and accessible on different platforms. But as your team grows, you may need to pay for upgrades and more features.

1. Huddle
Huddle is a collection of powerful workflow tools that works seamlessly across devices and virtual teams. It allows you to unify tasks, content, approvals, and team communication within a single dashboard.

Users can share ideas, work on documents and manage projects with teams inside and outside of the organisation.

The intelligent dashboard displays the content and tasks that are important to you and your project milestones. The team can also follow projects with a real-time activity stream, share ideas and comment to keep everyone productive. The app also allows users to see who’s accessing or editing documents. More importantly, Huddle allows users to control document versions across large project teams; this ensures teams always have access to the most current version of content.

2. Slack
In one of the reviews we came across, Slack was described as probably one of the best ways for teams to collaborate: “To put it simply, think of Slack as a chat client on steroids.”

One of the plus points is that all messages and shared files on Slack are searchable, which can come in very handy.

On Slack, users can sort out different conversations into channels, where you can integrate various services. For example, you can integrate your favourite project management tool with your chat client and get updates on new customer support tickets in-stream, so you can discuss with your team and assign a person on your team to take over the latest task. If you need pings while on the go, Slack has a well-developed notification system that you can customise to display only topics relevant to you or when messages are directed to you via tags.

3. Trello
This project management tool, based on a system of virtual cards or post-it notes that can create customisable to-do list on a single interface, is shareable with others in real-time.

You can create custom columns like “To-Do” or “In Progress” which you will use to organise individual tasks. The tasks will then be added as a small card to the column. You can set a due date, write comments, assign people to a card, among the functions.

There’s also a progress meter so you can keep an eye on your project’s pipeline, as well as the ability to set appointment reminders.

4. Evernote Business
Who hasn’t heard of Evernote - the note-taking and sharing app that have evolved to serve teams and small businesses? In most of the reviews on best collaborative apps, Evernote comes up top on the list. Evernote Business is dubbed the “digital whiteboard” for a business.

Evernote Business boasts that it can transform into whatever platform you need it to be — a project management tool, a document repository and knowledge base, or a digital home base for your employees. It consolidates information that is scattered across multiple platforms, and makes it easy to find and view. However, some reviews have said it falls short on the document sharing front, where the function can only be done on a desktop.

While Evernote itself is a free tool, Evernote Business costs US$12 per month, per user.

5. Asana
Asana is a project management tool that helps you keep your team and your projects - ideas, plans, conversations, files and tasks - organised in one place. Free access, for a team of up to 15, includes basic dashboards, which are customizable areas with charts showing the progress of a team or project. It also allows you to create multiple projects and assign team members tasks on specific projects which they can easily check off once it’s done, keeping everyone up to date with what stage of the project they’re on.

A key feature of this app is that it collaborates outside of your email to avoid clutter. However, the system can be integrated with other tools like Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Atlassian, Github and HipChat.

6. Yammer
Yammer, now a Microsoft unit, is a social network for business that serves as a platform to communicate and collaborate privately with your colleagues. Employees sign in with a company email address and can use the platform via web, desktop or mobile to chat openly or privately, and share documents. There is even a ‘like’ function for your colleagues’ statuses. The network can be integrated with SharePoint.

7. Google Apps and Dropbox
The tried-and-proven Google Apps collectively provide solutions to every need a team has to collaborate efficiently be it document sharing and editing through Google Drive, calendar collating with Google Calendar, chat or video-conferencing through Google Hangouts. While some of the apps may not outdo other apps out there, Google has certainly given careful thought to the tools that you will need for all forms of communicating in office and remotely.

We also tossed in the well-known Dropbox into the mix for those of you who need to share personal and work files on-the-go. The best part about Dropbox is that the files uploaded on these platforms are accessible anywhere. Users of Dropbox also have the advantage of retrieving deleted files or restoring documents to earlier versions.

Note: The article serves to provide information only for the convenience of its BizSmart Academy readers. Alliance Bank is not responsible for the availability or content of these external information sites, nor does it endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services or information described or offered by these apps listed.