Who’s Topping Teams? (& Who’s Tailing)
Which team collaboration tools are best?
Collaboration Tools are the new must-have solution for the modern workplace.
Today’s employees are more dispersed and disjointed than ever before, thanks to the rise of remote and mobile working trends. It’s becoming increasingly less likely that your staff members will be able to rely exclusively on things like in-person meetings and email for all of their correspondence.
Currently, the marketplace value of collaboration software is set to hit $45 billion by the end of this year, highlighting the growing need for collaborative tools. With collaboration apps, employees can connect through video, file sharing, audio, instant messaging, and so much more.
However, as the demand for Teams tools continues to ramp up, the number of competing vendors on the market is increasing. How do you decide which software you should be investing in?
We’ll take a look at some of the benefits of today’s leading Teams providers to help you decide.
Cisco Webex Teams
Cisco, one of the leading providers of communication and connectivity, created their collaboration offering following the acquisition of Webex. The Cisco Webex Teams application is a flexible conferencing solution that combines a video and audio web conferencing software, with the high-level heritage of the Cisco name.
Cisco Webex comes with access to a range of crucial tools for the modern workforce, providing an easy-to-use platform for teamwork and brainstorming. Companies can even embed hardware like Cisco Webex whiteboards into the collaboration environment to make creative conversations easier. However, Cisco’s offering is probably better-suited to those who are already familiar and comfortable with the Cisco environment, rather than teams coming from other settings, or smaller groups.
- Setting up spaces is quick and easy, with complete control for administrators
- Calling and video is always high-quality with excellent reliability
- Access to Cisco hardware and heritage
- Amazing range of add-on features like Cisco Webex Meetings
- Plenty of Integrations available
Probably one of the best-known and most well-respected collaboration tools on the market today, Microsoft Teams is the solution designed to replace Microsoft’s Skype for Business offering. Part of the immersive Office 365 productivity suite, Microsoft Teams, provides access to conversations, video meetings, calls and more, all while allowing you to tap into your work on Microsoft Word, Excel, and other tools.
Microsoft Teams is the fastest-growing application every to appear from Microsoft, and it’s also the go-to choice for most enterprises in search of secure and robust collaboration tools. However, Microsoft Teams still has some catching up to do when it comes to PBX and calling functionality.
- Full integration with the Microsoft Office 365 productivity suite
- Excellent access to hardware through a wide variety of partnerships
- Customisable communication and collaboration experiences
- Access to integrations, APIs, and Bot frameworks
- Flexible to suit a range of industries
Of all the collaboration tools on the market today, Slack is probably the one that’s least in need of an introduction. This easy-to-use platform was the first to introduce us to the new age of collaboration apps. If you’re looking for a simple interface, an excellent free offering, and a tool that appeals to even the smallest companies, then Slack could be the go-to choice.
Slack offers an incredibly smart platform that provides everything from integration with some of the world’s leading apps to state-of-the-art solutions for video, messaging, and file sharing. The app also supports video calling. Slack also comes with one of the most straightforward interfaces on the market – ideal for the consumerisation of collaboration apps. However, some businesses will require a tool that’s more secure for their enterprise communications.
- Excellent for any size of company – even the smallest organisations
- Plenty of integrations – more than most collaboration apps
- Simple and intuitive user interface is great for easy set-up and adoption
- Great for use with Google Drive and other critical tools
- Constantly upgraded with new and improved features
As the demand for collaboration tools continues to rise, RingCentral is one of many leading communication vendors that has decided to begin building their own collaboration offering. The Glip tool integrates perfectly with the rest of the RingCentral stack, offering an easy way for teams to access the additional functionality that they need without moving to another tech provider.
Because your collaborative experiences for video and audio conferencing come from a leader in voice and connectivity, you also know that you’re going to get excellent over-the-top quality, combined with excellent opportunities to bring conversations and teamwork experiences together.
- Competitive pricing for a range of different businesses
- Excellent for companies already familiar with the RingCentral portfolio
- High-level video and audio conferencing supported by RingCentral tech
- Task assigning options available (unlike in Slack)
- Creating events is a streamlined and simple process
Another example of a premier communications company trying their hand at the collaboration market, Unify provides solutions for rich network and communication management around the world. The Unify Circuit solution simplifies the opportunity to access collaboration offerings across a range of platforms, so that team members can enjoy more rich and meaningful conversations wherever they are.
Circuit takes advantage of the benefits of Unify’s exceptional communication background, as well as tapping into the value of Atos as a leading technology company. Circuit allows businesses to connect; however they choose, through voice, video, or chat, in a single-pane-of-glass environment. What’s more, because the app is built for businesses, it provides excellent security and compliance too.
- All the tools you need in the same single environment
- Everything is shareable, auditable and downloadable – including recordings
- Sketching and virtual whiteboarding available
- Natural user experience in any device
- Get files and data from Google Drive, Box and more
While most companies in the collaboration industry are focused on the conversations that happen in the back-end, ALE takes a different approach with Rainbow. The Alcatel Lucent Enterprise Rainbow solution combines the back-end and front-end of your communication environment, with an open architecture that links and integrates with countless business processes and third-party applications.
Designed to keep today’s team members engaged and informed, the ALE Rainbow collaboration tool offers instant messaging, presence, contact management, audio, and video calling, and so much more. What’s more, this offering also integrates with existing communication systems to provide access to call control, telephony presence, multi-site federation, and beyond.
- Excellent quality of service from ALE
- CPaaS approach with APIs connects back and front-end communication
- Endlessly extendable system
- Plenty of options to integrate with existing tools
- Access to a range of collaboration features
Avaya Zang Spaces
Avaya is a leading communications company with a focus on creating advanced digital experiences for today’s transforming companies. As part of the organisation’s new commitment to developing innovative, cutting-edge products, Avaya created “Spaces,” a collaboration solution that allows teams to work whenever they want, wherever they want with constant access to context.
Avaya Spaces is an excellent opportunity for any business that already has a communication stack built within the Avaya environment. Through this application, you can easily manage teams communications through a simple cloud-accessible app, reducing costs and productivity drains. However, Avaya doesn’t have the same popularity as some of the other apps on this list.
- Video and audio provided by Avaya’s reliable infrastructure
- Track and organise projects for better workforce management
- Connect remote teams around the world with ease
- Create a training repository for your team members
- Easy setup and access – particularly for Avaya users
8×8 Team Messaging
8×8 is one of the best-known companies in the conferencing and digital meeting space. Offering hosted VoIP services to companies across the globe, 8×8 provides quick and convenient access to state-of-the-art voice and video when teams need it most. What’s more, the company’s ability to integrate seamlessly with other crucial third-party business applications makes it an excellent choice for many global communications strategies.
The 8×8 Team Messaging offering comes with all the flexibility that today’s businesses need to choose the solutions that work for them, at a budget that suits their needs. There’s no need to pay for anything you don’t use, and you benefit from 8×8’s 99.9983% uptime.
- Scalable real-time communication around the world
- APIs to support the development of bots and integrations
- Business-to-business collaboration with external partners
- One application for messaging, meetings and voice
- All employees in your global directory get instant access
Workplace by Facebook
Though it’s one of the newer offerings in the collaboration landscape, Workplace by Facebook has made countless waves in the marketplace. Thousands of organisations already rely on this tool to bring their teams closer together. This is even after Facebook has experienced several issues caused by problems with privacy and security.
The Workplace by Facebook solution is designed to cater to the needs of growing enterprises, with a range of excellent features, including business-oriented news feeds and instant messaging. What’s more, Workplace mimics the experience of the consumer Facebook to make adoption as simple as possible.
- Easy file and document sharing options
- Polls and workplace chats for engagement
- Live video streams and broadcasting
- Global communication with auto-translate
- Automatic provisioning for quick onboarding
Google Hangouts Chat
Finally, Google Hangouts Chat is another relatively young tool in the collaboration environment. The early adopter program was introduced in March of 2017, and full release occurred in February 2018. Google Hangouts Chat is an instant messaging solution for companies that are already familiar with the offerings available from Google and the G Suite.
When you’re already using Docs and Slides to stay connected with your team, Hangouts Chat ensures that you can initiate and manage conversations while you’re working on projects in real-time. There’s no need to switch between different apps to start collaborating. However, Google Hangouts Chat isn’t delivering the same cutting edge features as some other leading tools like Microsoft Teams yet.
- Video and audio conferencing through Google apps
- Works seamlessly with the G-Suite environment
- Excellent for people who want easy-to-use performance
- Quick and seamless adoption
- Access to Google Calendaring, Gmail and more in combination with your Hangouts Chat features