When it comes to collaboration solutions, the options seem endless — and overwhelming. Zoom, Webex and Microsoft Teams are probably the three most popular platforms, but the list goes on. If you’re a small business owner, you just want information in an easy-to-understand language that’ll help you make better, more informed decisions.
Don’t let the multitude of options get the best of you. Figure out what’s most important to your organization and work backwards to determine which solution best aligns with your needs. Let’s dive into the most important questions to ask yourself when considering collaboration solutions.
Collaboration Platform Evaluation Questions
1. What Am I Using Now? Is It Working?
You clearly recognize the need for a collaboration platform; that’s why you’re here. Before you make any sort of technology decision, though, you need to take stock of your current situation. Many organizations responded to the initial COVID lockdown by piecing together a remote communication solution, using one app to chat, another to collaborate and taking business calls on personal cell phones. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone in this scenario.
While they’ve been able to get by with this mish mash of tools and applications, many organizations don’t see this as a feasible long-term solution. If you’re struggling with scalability, security, reliability and user experience, it’s time to find something better.
2. Can It Support Remote Work and Hybrid Teams?
As workplaces are being reimagined and more people are working remotely than ever before, your business needs collaboration technology that can be tailored to the way you want to work. An effective collaboration tool will empower your teams to stay connected from anywhere, on any device. You need features that will facilitate collaboration regardless of whether everyone is in the office, working from home, or moving between the two.
Ideally, your collaboration solution will combine calling, messaging, meeting and collaborating into a single virtual workspace. You’ll need to make sure your solution enables HD voice and video, file sharing capabilities and a streamlined user interface. The right set of features and functionality will make it easier for your workforce to remain productive from anywhere.
3. Is It Flexible?
Everybody is talking about UCaaS these days, and for good reason. Having a cloud-based unified communication solution gives your organization (and your employees) all kinds of flexibility. You’ll benefit from the ability to scale up or down as needed as your business grows; there’s no need to worry about obtaining new equipment when you get a new employee.
Likewise, your employees benefit from the flexibility to work where and how they please. A UC application can be downloaded onto any mobile device so that you can tune into chats, meetings and calls from your cell phone, laptop or desktop. No one is limited by their physical location.
4. Is It Secure?
Did you know that 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses? And your risk expands with today’s hybrid work models: dispersed employees across various locations means more content and communications are being sent from more devices across more connections. You need to protect your business information, devices and users from bad actors.
The cost of a breach can be devastating. Your collaboration solution must be secure at every point, with end-to-end encryption, compliance, visibility and control. Demand solutions that provide multiple levels of security for tasks that range from scheduling meetings and authenticating participants to sharing documents. You need the utmost security and privacy, without compromising simplicity and employee efficiency.
5. Is It Easy to Set Up and Use?
If you’re a small business owner, you don’t have the time to spend scouring through user manuals and Googling how to do the basics. You need effortless provisioning, self-service deployment and end-to-end troubleshooting (for just in case). And most importantly, you need a user interface that’s intuitive so that user adoption is practically instantaneous.
One of the best things about a cloud-based platform is that it’s easy to set up and delivers new functionality through automatic updates. There’s no tinkering with equipment on your end; you just accept the updates as they roll out.
6. Is It Affordable?
Communication and collaboration apps are not collector’s items — there’s no need to “catch them all.” While plenty of specialized solutions can get the job done when patched together, the cost of multiple applications starts to stack up quickly. With a smarter collaboration solution, you get one solution with multiple features and functions under one payment plan.
The SaaS model has become popular in recent years in large part due to its pricing structure. Rather than paying for equipment and shelling out a large upfront investment, you only need to pay for what you need on a monthly, per seat basis. This flexible subscription-based pricing is your best bet for a trustworthy solution with long-term ROI.
Get All Your Questions Answered
If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you probably don’t want to spend all day thinking about collaboration technology. But you can’t ignore it either! Research suggests that companies boasting collaborative cultures are five times more likely to perform at high levels, and with the growing popularity of remote work and hybrid teams, you’re going to need something to keep everyone connected.
The good news is that we’ve got communication experts on staff eager to help you find the perfect solution. Whether you’re looking for a voice solution fully integrated with Microsoft Teams or you’re hoping to mobilize your cloud calling with Webex, we can help. Besides, you need to stay focused on what matters most: growing your business.
What are you waiting for? Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts today!