A beginner's guide to workstream collaboration tools

What is Workstream Collaboration?

Gartner coined the term “workstream collaboration” to refer to software that offers a “persistent conversational workspace” segregated into discrete channels. Slack is the prime example of a workstream collaboration (WSC) technology, while others like Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex Teams also come to mind. What make workstream collaboration tools so novel are their integration of many different communication media under one centralized platform, including instant messaging, video, posts, files, and more. If this sounds similar to Unified Communications, you’re not wrong. WSC is an extension of UC capabilities to address the needs of an ever-changing business world.


Why Should You Use It?

WSC is touted for fostering better communication within teams, increased organizational engagement, and more connected remote workforces. The vast majority of companies are using or planning to deploy workstream collaboration tools. Greater than 70 percent of expect to use WSC as their primary form of communication within 3 years. In fact, Slack cites that 65 percent of Fortune 100 companies are already paid Slack users. However, Slack is not the only WSC platform in use. Microsoft Teams has made tremendous gains in the space through its promise of increased security and easy connection to existing Office 365 products. Beyond the popularity of these platforms, independent research firm Nemertes found a 21% gain in productivity reported by companies using workstream collaboration tools. This type of boost should definitely get you excited about the potential of WSC.

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About Unify Square

Unify Square’s software and services optimize and enhance the world’s largest collaboration and communication deployments, helping businesses manage and secure their meetings, chats & calls.

Our PowerSuite™ software creates a unified dashboard to surface actionable insights and help manage collaboration and communications platforms — optimizing and transforming performance health and user effectiveness.

Which of the Workstream Collaboration Tools is Right for You?

Now that you’re familiar with the terminology and the benefits, how do you determine which WSC platform application is right for your business? There are numerous options available, each with different strengths. Although we’ve investigated a number of collaboration platforms for business, there are a few that distinguish themselves.  Also, before choosing the platforms to evaluate don’t forget there are a number of collaboration security issues to factor in. 

Originally designed as a workstream collaboration tool for internal engineering teams, Slack now boasts a much wider audience. More than 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies are now paid Slack users. The appeal of Slack is its simplicity and modularity. Channels sort conversations by topic or team, and an extensive app store allows teams to customize Slack to their unique needs. Where organizations struggle with Slack is in its constant flow of information. Stepping away from a busy Slack channel can leave a pile-up of missed information that quickly becomes difficult to manage. Thankfully, Slack offers a robust search, with filters by channel or file type.

If much of your organization is already familiar with the consumer version of Facebook, Workplace is an interesting option that requires little additional training. Just like Facebook, Workplace allows posts, groups, and messaging. What makes Workplace unique as compared to other workstream collaboration tools is the news feed. It reads as a roughly prioritized list of all that has happened since last log-in, and is useful for maintaining awareness of what is happening within an organization. However, like the infinite scroll in the consumer version of Facebook, the news feed can be addictive. Overall, Workplace feels like a social network for businesses.

PowerSuite works with the most Popular Platforms

Microsoft approached the design of Teams from an enterprise collaboration point of view. As such, there is an increased emphasis on security and compliance, some of which comes from native integrations rather than relying on third party applications. Teams does offer an application library, though buyer beware, as not all apps are created equal. Microsoft offers a basic version of Teams for free, but the full-featured Microsoft Teams is included with Office 365 subscriptions. Teams stands out in its integration with Microsoft’s other products. You can collaborate within Teams using real-time co-authoring in Word Online, and Outlook Calendar displays your meeting schedule and allows you to remotely join via voice or video. Although Teams has some eccentricities like difficulties navigating between files and chat, overall it presents a robust solution and a truly centralized workspace.

Don’t go it alone! If your organization needs help deploying workstream collaboration tools, Unify Square can help. Our expert consultants will work with you to ensure a successful rollout. Contact us today!

Featuring our Collaboration Security RightTrack™ program

With the introduction of collaboration to your communications stack, there are many additional considerations IT needs to keep in mind. With increased collaboration and visibility, it’s important to reduce risk of security exposures from employees and guests.

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