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October 25, 2016updated 28 Oct 2016 2:22pm

Top 5 enterprise collaboration software tools

The market is full of options, but which one is the best fit for your business?

By James Nunns

In the modern business world collaboration is everything.

With the increasing demand for digital transformation projects, open source, and the influx of devices that let staff work from any location, never has the need to effectively communicate with staff been more important.

The importance of collaboration is somewhat reflected in the vast array of collaboration software solutions that are available in the market. A quick Google search will throw up more results than could be easily digested.

To help your business make the right choice CBR highlights five of the best solutions on the market.

 

Github

This one is more for the programmers, but given their importance at the heart of what businesses are doing it is important to provide them with the tools that will help them do their jobs better.

Founded in 2008, GitHub is a web-based Git repository hosting service, a version control system used for software development that offers source code management.

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Essentially it is a huge library of open source software projects that allows programmers to commit code and is basically a large social networking site for programmers.

With more than 15 million users and over 38 million repositories it is the largest host of source code in the world.

Users can collaborate on code and access repositories.

Users can collaborate on code and access repositories.

One major piece of functionality is “forking” which allows for the copying of a repository from one user’s account to another. The point of this is so that a user can take a project and modify it in your own account, any changes can be published and the original owner will be notified. The original owner can then merge the changes made into the original repository.

It is a worldwide collaboration effort to develop various pieces of software. Currently the leading contributing organisations are Google and Facebook.

Slack

Slack just revealed that the cloud based collaboration tool has hit four million daily users, 1.25 million of which are paying customers such as LinkedIn, eBay, Conde Nast, and EA.

Most of its customers are in the US, but it is growing worldwide and it is available via web and a desktop application.

Slack is basically a messaging app that is designed for teams and workplaces. Users can upload and share files, and integrate with other apps and services such as Skype for video calls.

Slack has been integrated with tools such as Wizeline.

Slack has been integrated with tools such as Wizeline.

It can be used for free for teams wanting to try it out for an unlimited period of time, or for $6.67 per active user ($8 billed) for the standard version and $12.50 ($15 billed) for the plus version that includes SAML-based single sign-on, 99.99% guaranteed uptime SLA, 20GB file storage per team, and real-time Active Directory sync with OneLogin, Okta, and Ping.

Slack recently boosted its enterprise credentials by integrating with Salesforce.

Box

Identified as a secure file sharing, storage, and collaboration company, Box has spent the past couple of years really boosting its enterprise credentials.

Its partnerships with IBM to tap into its global footprint of data centres, in order to offer data location peace of mind with Box Zones,  has given it a one key element to help it grow in enterprises.

The second major partnership is with Google, which in its own right is a large provider of collaborative tools.

Box recently revamped its collaboration tools and UI.

Box recently revamped its collaboration tools and UI.

Box’s deal with Google will see integrations between Box, Google Docs, and Google Springboard, in addition to Box becoming a third-party repository for Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This means that Box users will be able to create and edit Google documents, spreadsheets and presentations directly from Box.

The integrations with other companies and other products has given Box a valuable flexibility that makes it a much more appealing option for users that are looking to collaborate across various products.

Jive Software

Jive is one of the oldest companies on the list but at 15 years old it is hardly ancient.

The company has made its name as a provider of communication and collaboration tools and it offers two main products, Jive-n, and Jive-x.

Jive-n is aimed at social collaboration for employees and one of its key features is its integrated hub. The company describes the tool as being able to break down silos in order to provide collaboration across systems of record, apps and devices.

The integrated hub offers ready to go integration with; Outlook, Gmail, Microsoft Office 365, Google Docs, Evernote, Box, Google Drive, Cisco WebEx, Microsoft Skype for Business, Salesforce, ServiceNow, and many more.

Jive is able to build employee collaboration and use analytics to assess.

Jive is able to build employee collaboration and use analytics to assess.

For a collaboration tool to be a success it needs these integrations, but it also needs other features to help make it ‘sticky’.

One of the more advanced feature sets is around driving adoption and engagement. The company is pushing peer recognition, quests and rewards, personal insights, and engagement analytics.

The gamification style features combined with analytics add to the likelihood that this tool will last in an organisation.

Yammer

The long-term future of Yammer is unclear after Microsoft revealed that it would be getting rid of its enterprise service tier on the 1st January 2017.

While Yammer will continue to exist, it will be heavily integrated into the Office 365 services. This may be sad news for Yammer users but it promises to create a large, all encompassing collaboration toolset.

The reality is that most enterprise business users are on Microsoft Office, it is the default for PCs and things like Outlook, Word, Excel and many more can and will be found in most offices. While other companies have made a solid effort with integrating to Office, it is Microsoft that holds the prize goose.

Users are able to pick files from OneDrive to share inside Yammer.

Users are able to pick files from OneDrive to share inside Yammer.

The problem with collaboration tools is that they often add in one or more steps into people’s processes, Microsoft could remedy that by adding collaboration features natively.

Yammer provides a great route into that Microsoft ecosystem and its new life will make it possible for users to make Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents using Office Online within Yammer.

People will also be able to go from Yammer to a shared OneNote notebook or the Microsoft Planner project management tool.

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