Best Tools for Online Collaboration

A project team may not be working in the same workplace, some work in distributed groups, some  from home and clients can be based all over the world. And this is where the need of collaboration tools come in existence. They make it easier and faster to get feedback.

Here are some of the best available on-line tools that allow designers to take part in collaborative work in real time:

1. Flatsi.es: Just forget the frustrations of sending work to clients via email. This collaboration tool enables you to host your any on-line project on one dashboard and share it via a simple URL. As the projects are protected with passwords, so only you and the client have access to them. The free version of Flatsi.es allows you to manage four projects at a time, and the paid version account is unlimited.

2. Red Pen: This feedback tool is particularly great if you are a freelancer and looking for some constructive criticism on a project. Red pen is specifically created for designers. It lets you drag and drop your designs into a dashboard and invite specific colleagues to let you know their thoughts in real-time as you roll out your latest updates to a project. This collaboration tool costs you $20  per month for 5 projects.

3. GoVisually: This tool allows you to mark annotations and place comments on any part of your project, so clients and designers can collaborate to revise projects online without sending painful e-mails, ultimately increasing productivity. On GoVisually, revisions can be easily uploaded and it is simple to switch between different versions of the same document or project.

4. MindMeister: It is a powerful mind-mapping tool and also has the functionality of many collaboration tools. MindMeister can be used by designers to craft ideas and concepts. Although it can be a bit quirky to organize a design idea through mind mapping, but still it is a great collaboration tool to try out.

5. Scribblar: It is more like a chat room, even it has audio available. Creative brainstorming and artwork revision can be collaborated in the chat room you create. It is an effective on-line collaboration tool and Scribblar is available for free.

These were the 5 tools for on-line collaboration that help designers take part in collaborative work in real time. Are you using these tools? Share your thought in Comment section below.

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Five steps to successful organizational collaboration

Is simply implementing new technology is the only way to increase collaboration? The answer is No. Fortunately getting started with collaboration is much easier than you might think. And you are probably doing some of it already.

1: Connect to the real World

A significant percentage of companies are expected to go out of business today also. To Cope with continuous changes in the business environment is not easy. Effective collaboration starts with understanding what your customers want, how your market works and what new trends could potentially disrupt your business.

2: Understand How work gets done

Collaboration helps work get done more effectively by bringing the right information to the right people,  at the right time, to make better work decisions. So, to improve collaboration you must first understand how work is actually done. Re-engineer the work so that it can be done more collaboratively in the future.


3. Design a Collaborative Organization

Collaboration requires to look at how you should be organized to do work more effectively. Collaboration improvement often involves restructuring the organization. Once you have decided how work should be done in the future, then you should develop the organization to support it.

4. Empower Staff

Giving the staff right information at the right time doesn’t automatically make them more collaborative or the company more effective. This requires skills, new knowledge, and the opportunity to practice collaboration. It is important to support, train and mentor staff to help them work more collaboratively. Staff members must also practice their new collaboration skills back in the workplace so it becomes the new daily business and not just the latest management fad.

5. Develop a Culture of Collaborative Entrepreneurship

Leading collaborative companies have developed a collaborative entrepreneurial culture to help them spot opportunities in the market that might only be open for a couple of months and respond to them with brand new products in as little as a couple of weeks.
A computer scientist Alan Kay said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.

These five steps provide a solid organizational foundation to get you started with collaboration. So, are you following these in your organization? Or any other steps are followed in your organization then share with us at : http://www.alturacs.com/solutions/midmarket-collaboration-ip-office/

A smarter and quicker Business Collaboration than Ever

Every business organization performs best in its area of core competency and this enhances not only the value within the organization itself, but also the value delivered to its customers. On the other hand, when an organization tries to perform functions that are not its core competency, then there is a need of significant training and commitment. If these functions are not planned to be its core competency in the future, then these become a significant pull the performance of the company.

Business Collaboration

But if every organization focuses only in its area of core competency to optimize and ensure efficient use of its resources, then how we solve difficult business issues, or which by their very nature span across diverse areas?

Therefore, we need to look at the new methods of business collaboration where each organization can perform in its own area of core competency. There exists a technology platform that enables collaboration across these organizations to effectively solve complex business issues. The organizations can work smarter and quick, if they can effectively use this concept of collaboration.

Altura Communication Solutions, a comprehensive providers of collaboration platform by enabling its market participants to participate in putting together best of breed solutions to complex business issues of the enterprises, and the technology solution provider continues to focus on its own core competency or product.

Altura communications enable this collaboration using its automated platform, where it identifies a Prime solution provider first. When the Prime solution provider is chosen, the integrated response is submitted to the enterprises.  It is not much difficult to calculate the time and cost that is saved to put together a comprehensive response to a complex business problem with best of breed solutions from individual providers using the automated collaboration platform provided by Altura communication.

How Collaboration is beneficial in Schools?

When the funding of school is not enough, many people wonder why it is important to spend money on deploying collaboration technology (like video messaging, instant messaging, etc.) in schools. Following are five benefits that collaboration technology offers to schools:

Savings with new and improved technology
Technology is moving faster at an exponential rate and if you implement newer technologies in your schools or any other work, you will be able to have exponential savings.

Collaboration in School
Collaboration in School

Connects teachers and students

Real-time messaging is not just about chatting. Have you ever thought of what can schools do with a live connection to the world? Administrative staff of school can work more efficiently with each other. Staff members or teachers can invite special guests from several states away. Also, students can access their class materials from home.

More learning option

Every person has its own different way of learning and teaching. Collaboration tools give teachers and students the flexibility to use the type of technology that will help them the most. Students can learn sitting at home.

Staff productivity

Collaboration tools help to keep staff more connected with each other. So when any questions or problems come up, to reach someone who can help you is easy. This will eventually increase your school’s staff productivity.

Student Readiness

Universities, Corporations and trade schools all over the world are adopting these collaboration technologies into their daily routines. Those students who use these technologies in schools, will have one less thing to learn about their new learning or working world once they matriculate. So, we can say that collaboration tools also helps students in many ways.

So, what you say now? Isn’t collaboration technology important in schools. If you create a collaborative educational environment in your school, you can build a community of caring individuals who are all working towards one common goal i.e. increasing the students positive outcomes.

Tips to Improve business Communication and Collaboration

Today, companies expend a lot in improving collaborations and yet too often end up disappointed in their performance. Although, technology can be a great tool for making collaboration easier, but in the beginning, the company’s culture and management initiative are the engine that drives it.

Here we have collected some tips to create a roadmap of steps that you can take to improve collaboration in your company.

  • Open Communication Style: Open communication style allows employees more insight into what is going on and helps them feel they are part of the company. Those that don’t adapt to this new way of communication, tends to facilitate more transparent and quick decisions, will be left behind.
  • Recognize Power Users: Encourage employees to adopt the collaboration tools by having managers to recognize power users at an all-hands meeting or video-conference. Consider offering rewards such as gift cards.

network_communication

  • Share What the Tools can do: Ensure that users must know how to use the collaboration tools and encourage them to devise new uses for those tools through demonstrations and brainstorming sessions.
  • Go Beyond Online Tools: Online business communication and collaboration tools can provide a great resource for connecting and tracking projects, but there is more out there. So, go beyond the online tools and consider ways to increase face-to-face collaboration. One of the most effective ways to increase innovation and collaboration can be creating a sense of community.
  • Establish Acceptable Usage Policy: Create a policy that outlines what behavior is acceptable and the consequences should the policy be violated. Sign the policy from all employees to acknowledge that they have received it and read it. This would avoid situations later where an employee says that he doesn’t understand why you are disciplining him since he didn’t even know there was such a policy.

So, these were the steps that you must follow to improve your business communication and collaboration, as they both are vital for the growth of your business.

What does Collaboration actually mean?

Collaboration simply means a working practice where individuals work together for a common purpose to achieve benefit in their business.

What is Collaboration?
Collaboration allows individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business goal. It basically exists in two forms:

 Synchronous
Asynchronous

In synchronous collaboration, everyone interacts in real time, like in on-line meetings through instant messaging or via Skype, and in asynchronous collaboration, interaction can be time-shifted, like when uploading documents or annotations to shared work spaces or making contributions to a wiki.

In collaboration space, shared workspaces are much visible. They are aimed at rolling document and application sharing up through chats. They may have more or less features, and can be available either for license or on a syndicated basis in the cloud. A well-known example of this type is Google Docs, which is Microsoft’s SharePoint and EMC Documentum eRoom.

On the other hand, Wiki are best thought of as on-line encyclopedias or how-to manuals. These are the applications that let users to create, reorganize and edit content using a Web browser. Although, the most visible example of this is Wikipedia, but variants exist throughout enterprises of all kinds and sizes.

collabcycle
At the conceptual level, Collaboration involves:

Awareness
Motivation
Self-Synchronization
Participation
Mediation
Reciprocity
Reflection
Engagement

Though collaboration relies on openness and knowledge sharing, but also requires some level of focus and accountability on the part of business organizations. Also, governance should be created for addressing the creation and closing of team workspaces with assignment of responsibility for capturing the emergent results of the collaborative effort.