Review of top five cloud collaboration tools

Enterprises across the globe have harnessed the power of cloud collaboration for better communication eliminating the barrier of time and distance to work and collaborate in an organization. Computers and software applications paved the way to an easier workflow in an organization and internet transmuted the process of communicating the same online. The need to email and share documents for assigning tasks, tasks approvals and discussions have led to a gate way of endless communication with different people across places . But it was a time taking and tedious process to find an old file or a document, owing to common human tendency to be out of mind as it is out of sight. Cloud Collaboration has been a promising solution to all the cumbersome processes since its way to in the market. Phil Wainewright, a thought leader in cloud computing as an analyst and consultant mentions that cloud is transforming the way people work together in the enterprise, creating a rich opportunity for innovative vendors to make an impact.

The vastness of the use and the boundaries of collaboration vary from cloud to cloud. Some collaborative cloud tools are confined to a single enterprise platform accessible to only those having the unique enterprise email id like Yammer and collaborative enterprise tools such as Huddle have the accessibility to other enterprises or clients with restricted visibility. It is the variety and information of the different cloud collaboration tools that is being discussed taking into account certain features.

CollaborateCloud (https://www.collaboratecloud.com)
CollaborateCloud is a new technical development surfaced into the cloud collaboration family with plethora of tools to connect human resources for better work productivity. It is devised for small, medium and big enterprises to do away with time consuming chores, to streamline optimum workflow and save time and money. Task management, Project management, Files sharing and upload, assigning work are possible with this cloud collaboration tool in an effective way. Employees can work in a common platform across business functions & departments. Workrooms for teams, clients, departments or functions can be created & customized to collaborate privately. Scheduling events with a tail of reminders is possible on cloud. Tasks and Reminders will easily set flow to one’s work momentum as any assignment (pending and ongoing) reflect on the page automatically. Instant messaging, assigning tasks to a person are easy with CollaborateCloud. The Activity Feed meets the Facebook fever to share and update news and posts at any time of the day. The most striking feature about CollaborateCloud is the ability to build Apps & Workflows through their app builder wizard. It takes sometime to get use to it, but once you get a hang of it you could create apps within minutes for any business process or function. Use it for project management, customer acquisition, vendor sourcing, invoicing, inventories / supply chain, human resource management with simple customizations to let you work the way you want to.

Huddle
Huddle brings in documents and people intelligently to collaborate through cloud. Collaboration within an enterprise or with an esteemed client, Huddle is on edge with its external enterprise cloud collaboration features. Huddle’s dashboard includes a common overview, Whiteboards, Tasks, Files, Meetings and people profile. Ongoing tasks, late tasks, tasks waiting prioritize the work flow and upcoming events help one struggle less to dig in what to accomplish or assign. A view on different projects and tasks going around the organization is possible for the persons related with the assignment through My Workspace. Dropdown Menu takes one to any workspace with activity order. Discussion forums facilitate communication and modifications while the work is executed by different teams across the globe eliminating three, four platforms to do the same. Invites to external users securely with customized access of the cloud is possible and it helps to reflect modified work in the same platform eliminating drafts and emails exchange. But Huddle lacks a time line view of projects besides the time track to see the project completion time and generation of reports and project data analysis need an external aid.

Salesforce
Salesforce has stirred up Customer Relationship Management or CRM with its ground-breaking applications of sales and CRM. Salesforce is a centralized platform on cloud to manage an organization’s business equipped with the nitty-gritty for well-organized communication through phone calls, chats, emails and file shares etc. Reports and Dashboards amplify file, document searches on Sales Cloud. Workflow, approval process, reminders for projects and calendars render smoothness to work. Social network can be utilized for prospects as it directs to Salesforce and chatter will update the business feeds to everyone in the loop. The Salesforce CRM customer portal has the flexibility to track cases and take status without anyone’s approval. Besides social networking sites can be used for prospects as it automatically directs to social media page of Salesforce. In a nutshell, Salesforce has made a niche in relationship management with its sales force collaboration tools and keeping customers abut. This is what CEO Marc Benioff quoted – “The most successful enterprises reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.”

MS 365
MS 365, built around the Microsoft Office platform, is an online office productivity series that led giant Microsoft to come to the surge in cloud collaboration. It encompasses all the MS office tools to work and share online. Moving Packed with MS Outlook Services, Lync, SharePoint, SkyDrive and Exchange Online it has amenities for smoother cloud collaboration, while maintaining A to Z of any office task. Outlook Services can streamline email, access outlook calendar, contacts and tasks. Lync connects instantly through messaging, audio, video and online meetings. SharePoint stands alone as a document sharing, accessing and managing platform. MS 365 enabled with desktop versions of latest MS Office applications in some subscriptions, it is possible to work offline and sync the data once one go online. With all the office features although on the cloud, penny wise its worth to bother as it is an iteration of MS Office, present since two decades. Yet it has gone a substantial change in its user interface saving time and the whole purpose of cloud collaboration.

Yammer
Yammer designed with a touch of social networking site Facebook makes communication faster in an enterprise. Yammer’s content collaboration is simple in its approach to collaborate people of the organization. File sharing, news feed, images, information, videos and pages are the high lights of content management. Different groups like design, IT, R&D, Accounts can be kept on adding to the platform for internal group discussions while the “All Company” group will let you connect anyone in the enterprise. Chats, scheduling events, notifications or praising a feed or work are feasible with Yammer. Co-workers can only join the platform – is a boon as a security measure and a bane as a barrier to efficient external communication. Flexibility to follow pages, news feed and different sites and tags remains intact with this cloud collaboration. After acquisition in 2012 by Microsoft, Yammer now fosters team collaboration under Microsoft Office division.
It rests on the enterprise’s needs, available budget, and kind of business that will take the upperhand in deciding the cloud collaboration tools for effective team work and employee productivity on the cloud.

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