Collaboration is crucial for teamwork, and whether you are running a business or an educationist, your team needs to be on the same page for improved productivity.
While email can be a good way to communicate, it might not be an effective communication tool, especially when dealing with a sizable team. Information can get lost in the back-and-forth process of sending emails, and team members can inadvertently drop the ball on very crucial tasks.
The right team collaboration tools are those that enhance effective communication. Microsoft 365, a cloud-based productivity suite, offers some of the best collaborative tools on different plans. The suite can be best described as a rich communication-focused platform with multiple applications and tools for real-time collaboration.
This article takes a look at three simple yet powerful Microsoft collaboration tools that can significantly impact your results and boost your team’s productivity.
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration program that comes with many useful collaboration features to keep users in touch with their teams. Previously, the tool was only offered on a monthly paid subscription basis. But to make the service more competitive (like similar programs, such as Slack), a free version with lots of useful communication features was unveiled.
- Teams and channels: Conversations boards between teammates form channels. Besides viewing and adding conversations in a channel, team members can also invite other members to join in a conversation using the @ function.
- Screen sharing and online video calls: You can share your desktop for multi-user collaboration in real-time. You can also get technical assistance by sharing your desktop. The tool also allows you to make online video calls to people within and outside your organization.
- A chat function: Microsoft Teams comes with a chat function that allows quick chats between individuals, groups, and teams.
- Online meetings: You can hold online training sessions or companywide meetings with up to 10,000 users both within and outside your organization. The function comes complete with a note-taking app, in-meeting chat messaging, file uploading, and a scheduling aid.
- Audio conferencing: This unique feature allows anyone with a dial-in number to join an online conference by phone. Users do not require an internet connection to join in the meeting. However, accessing this function requires additional licensing.
Pricing and Plans
You can download Microsoft Teams for free both on your desktop or mobile device. There are also premium plans starting at $5 up to $20 per month, per user, depending on the package you sign up for. You can also access the paid version by signing up for a free one-year trial. This offer alone makes Teams one of the most preferred Microsoft collaboration tools for organizations.
OneDrive is a cloud-based storage platform that comes with Microsoft 365. Think of it as your personal could service where you can create and upload documents and share them with your team. You can grant different access levels to individual team members, depending on whether you want them to view the documents only or to edit the document.
Instead of sending documents as attachments to emails, you can simply upload them to OneDrive and share the link with teammates.
OneDrive is undoubtedly one of the most widely used Microsoft collaboration tools, thanks to its numerous features, a few of which include:
- File/document storage and sharing
- Document review and tracking
- Easy access from anywhere in the world
- File permission management
- Microsoft Office integration, enabling users to view office documents online
- Capability to adapt video playback to the speed of your internet connection
Pricing and Plans
The OneDrive Basic plan is available for free and is only available for home use. It offers 5GB of storage with access to a limited number of features such as scanning and saving multiple pages of printed documents as well as using free Microsoft Office for the web (Word, Excel, PowerPoint).
Several paid plans are available for home and business use. The price ranges from $1.99 per month to $99.99 per annum (for home) and $5 per month per user to $12.50 per month, per user (for business).
SharePoint is Microsoft’s document management and collaboration platform designed to help organizations to work together more effectively. The tool is an easy and simple way to efficiently manage documents within your team.
- Seamless document collaboration: You can seamlessly share files, news, and data to every department and project team within your organization. The collaborative tool also lets you customize your website to streamline what your team is doing. It offers secured collaboration across mobile devices, Macs, and PCs whether you share something with people inside or outside your organization.
- Resource sharing: SharePoint allows you to engage your employees and teammates, keeping them informed by sharing applications and common resources.
- Content management and sharing: You can pool collective knowledge in SharePoint so that teammate has quick access to expertise, insights, and information. With a powerful search function, knowledge can be easily shared within your group or organization, leading to increased productivity.
- Lists and libraries: SharePoint comes with PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, lists, and libraries that let you build digital workflows, forms, and even custom apps that your teammates can access from any of their devices.
Pricing and Plans
There is no free plan in SharePoint. Instead, it is offered in three different options:
- $5 monthly subscription plan per user for Plan 1 (does not include Office applications)
- $10 per month, per user for Plan 2 (does not include Office applications)
- $20 per month, per user for Office 365 E3 Plan (includes Office applications)
With the right type of collaboration tool, your team’s productivity can go nowhere but up. Of course, Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint are not the only tools available. Other options, such as Trello, are equally great. However, these three are among the most easy-to-use and widely popular Microsoft collaboration tools that can greatly impact individual and organization productivity.