Virtual collaboration software has opened up a whole new area of technology and has caused a bit of a stir the cloud and virtual teams are bringing about change in how and where we can collaborate and what software we will use to do this.  Picking the right way to do this and the right platform to do it on is a daunting task. For years the tools for this task have been slightly lacking but in the early noughties’ web conferencing tools and instant messaging began to change the landscape. By 2005 and onwards blogs and other software were offering the ability for employees to share content in a live manner, it made email appear cumbersome and slow and real time updates were possible. It was like a meeting only virtual. The platforms of Facebook and Twitter were then converted to a more business. From their enterprise collaboration grew with the introduction of systems such as Dropbox.

These systems allow members of a business to message, carry out video chats, file sharing and other great tools. Today this marker is growing at a fast pace and is set to continue to do so.  Lots more business is going to be done online and the amount of people working from home is set to increase rapidly. With the technology at home and the software available the overheads of business premises are a sometimes-unnecessary expense. Companies are deciding between off the shelf packages or making their own from a group of bespoke software applications. They are often very simple and cheap to buy.

Another consideration for these new applications is that they need to be mobile friendly people need to collaborate on the hop! Applications that can include third party apps are also highly sought after. The main aim of your technology should be as follows:

Focus on what you need the technology to achieve. What do you need it to do and why do you need it to do it e.g. to increase sales or to make content writing more fluid? Getting answers to these questions will help you decide which products are best for you.

If common already well-known collaboration tools work for you then choose them, don’t be afraid to pick what is already out there if it seems the most suitable choice for your company. It will be beneficial if the team already know and love the product in hand and this could give you a big advantage over your competitors.

Check that the software is secure and includes encryption.

Check that there are no hidden costs. Do you already have the bandwidth to support the tools? If you are struggling set up a spreadsheet of features highlight which ones are available for each product and then determine which ones are the most important to you. You can then pick the package that is most suitable to your needs. If you require two collaboration software suites, then you will need to purchase two.

Another top tip is that a shared calendar option is a very good tool.