There are many benefits of using online collaboration tools within your company. One is the ability to keep track of several projects at the same time. Another is the freedom to seamlessly work with multiple team members, regardless of where they are in the world. No matter what the job is, there are plenty of useful apps and programs to help you get it done, while also improving your firm’s efficiency overall.
This time around, we interviewed three companies that are leveraging online tools to optimize teamwork: Southeast Asian adtech startup Adskom, online marketplace for independent contractors Freelancer , and SaaS customer support software provider Bornevia. Here’s what they had to say about the tools they use:
1. Google Hangouts
Hangouts is a communication platform by Google in which folks can instant message and video call. Anyone with a Google account can immediately use the service for free on desktop and mobile.
Helma Kusuma, Indonesia Country Manager at Freelancer: Our office email is powered by Google, so automatically all Freelancer.com’s employees around the world have a Google Hangouts account. All primary team conversations are done via Hangouts on a daily basis. However, I also use WhatsApp when talking directly to my colleagues, especially if it’s urgent.
Daniel Armanto, CTO of Adskom: Our firm, with offices in Indonesia, Singapore, and the US, initially used Hangouts too. But as we grew, the team realized that Hangouts has one big drawback, which is the inability to remove members from a group conversation. The team can ask members to leave the group on their own, but it’s proven to be somewhat of a hassle. We recently moved to another real-time communication platform Slack. Although Slack doesn’t have the ability to do video calling, it triumphs in other areas, especially integrations with other collaboration tools.
Benny Tjia, CEO of Bornevia: We use Google Hangouts mainly for conference calls. The team prefers it more than (Microsoft-owned) Skype, simply because we didn’t need to install anything when using Hangouts. With Skype, however, each member needed to install the program first before calls could begin.
Skype is a telecommunication software which allows team members to chat and share files online. Its main function is the ability to conduct free conference calls with up to 25 people.
Adskom: For conference calls with our team members abroad, we usually use either Skype or Hangouts. But most of the time we use the latter software because it’s integrated with other Google-related services such as G-calendar and email. For example, it’s easier to create a Hangouts room and invite people in via G-Calendar.
Bornevia: Mostly we use Skype for calls only when the other party asks for it. If not, then our preferred software is Hangouts.
Freelancer: Yes, I personally prefer Hangouts too for conference calls since I find its call quality better than Skype most of the time.
Slack is a real-time communication platform which allows users to create chat rooms based on topics. Its biggest strength lies in the many third-party apps that can be integrated into its platform such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Twitter.
Adskom: Slack is a fancier tool than Hangouts when hosting real-time communication. The former software has many integrations to third-party tools that we also use such as Pivotal Tracker (an agile project management tool) for our developer team and Asana (an online project management tool) for our business team. Because both are integrated into Slack, members can receive notifications whenever there are modifications on the external tools.
Bornevia: We use Slack for day-to-day team communications because the integrated features on the platform works well for our team. Although everyone in Bornevia works in the same building, we use multiple collaboration tools, as well as an online project tracking board called Trello. The team will get notifications on Slack whenever there are changes happening in Trello. For me, Slack acts like the company news feed.
Freelancer: We mainly use Google Hangouts for primary team conversations. We don’t use Slack.
4. Google Drive
If you haven’t heard of Google Drive, odds are you’ve been living on a deserted island for the past several years. It is a cloud-based platform in which people can store documents online, and share them with team members easily. Its most powerful feature, however, is the ability to edit in real-time with other users. Google Drive is free to use.
Freelancer: The team mostly creates and edits documents online using Google Drive’s document feature (Google Docs). Thanks to this, we no longer need to send documents back and forth just for simple edits and updates.
Bornevia: Agreed, Google Drive is the best tool we use for online documents.
Each company has its own unique preferences when it comes to online collaboration. Freelancer – which has over 500 employees with offices in Australia, the UK, the Philippines, and Canada – uses an employee directory software called Pingboard to track team members’ business activities online.
Employees update their availability on Pingboard such as when they’re calling in sick, going on leave, or taking a business trip. “For example, if I call in sick on Pingboard, all my subordinates and bosses in the same department will receive a notification about it. So, they know not to contact me during that time,” explains Kusuma.
Bornevia, on the other hand, takes its own medicine. It manages a team inbox with its own collaboration tool. The team funnels most incoming messages to one shared email address; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bornevia’s tool can assign the team’s inbox messages to relevant members in the form of a ticket. Supervisors can then monitor the flow of these tickets, and keep track of whether each one has been resolved. On top of that, supervisors can put comments on each ticket to ensure better team communication.
See: [How to Optimize Your Online Channels for Digital Marketing]
This content was curated by Bornevia, customer support software with email, social media, and WhatsApp integrations.