Low-Cost Collaboration Tools for Virtual Teams

Connect and create a collaborative company culture among members of your remote sales team.

Connect and create a collaborative company culture among members of your remote sales team.

As more and more businesses depend on virtual teams to pursue their business goals, collaboration tools have become more of a necessity than an option.

The good news is you don’t have to break the bank to keep your workgroup connected. Just ask Robyn Green, vice president at Global Integration, a management-training consultancy. Green shares the following helpful insights about several collaboration tools gaining traction among her clients.

Google Apps for Work
Many people are familiar with Google’s cloud-based suite, which includes Calendar, Gmail, Drive, Docs, and Hangouts. While Google provides its everyday users with the suite for free, small-to-large businesses can use it to better interact with clients, customers, and team members. For a nominal cost, businesses can maintain their respective business e-mail addresses, and get additional storage as well as Google Vault, which lets users retain, archive, search, and export an organization’s e-mail and chat messages.

Huddle
Huddle provides a business solution for file sharing and task management, as well as project and document collaboration, allowing a team’s goals and to-do lists to be housed in a shared platform. A package for a small team, starting at 25 users, includes 100GB of storage and 2GB maximum file size, among other collaborative features. Starting at 100 users, an enterprise client receives 1TB of storage, 10GB maximum file size, and enhanced customization and security. You can test out Huddle’s offerings with a free trial.

Skype
If you’re looking for a low-cost collaborative communications tool, Skype should be on your radar. The online meeting tool allows users to communicate either via Skype-to-Skype, which is free, or through Skype to landline or cell phone for a small fee. The easy-to-install platform and app allows users to enjoy free video calling, as well as group audio calls for up to 25 people. Skype for Business provides stellar security and management of your employees’ accounts. It allows for audio and video calls for up to 250 people.

WebEx
Cisco WebEx has an array of offerings, but let’s explore how WebEx Meetings, a premier conferencing service, can benefit small business owners. Depending on your team’s size, you may be able to avoid paying altogether with WebEx’s free plan, which supports up to three participants and includes standard-quality video, 250MB of storage and sharing of desktop, white board, and documents, among other things. Next is the Premium 8 plan, supporting eight participants, and the Premium 25 plan, supporting 25 people. The latter plans allow the presenter role to be shared and gives you access to free mobile apps and the ability to record meetings.

Yammer
Yammer is a private, secure enterprise social network. The platform brings teams together, allowing open conversations, both internally, with fellow team members, or externally, looping in third parties such as vendors and clients. You can also collaborate on uploaded documents, which can be shared and edited, among other capabilities.

For remote teams that need to work cohesively, there’s an abundance of technology solutions on the market. But remember, online collaboration tools don’t have to be expensive. Assess your employees’ needs, research what’s available, and ultimately decide which product would work best.

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