Collaboration Platforms Feature Overview for Enterprise Organisations in 2021
Besides the obvious benefit of enabling enterprise teams to operate seamlessly post-COVID, collaboration platforms offer a host of other advantages. They can, for example, eliminate travel time, reduce operational costs, increase productivity, and allow for hybrid communication between in-house employees and remote workers.
But with so many products flooding the market, choosing the right solution can feel a little overwhelming. To help you understand these platforms more clearly, here’s an overview of some of the main collaboration platforms, specifically for enterprise teams in 2021.
With 115 million daily active users as of October 2020, Microsoft Teams is an immensely popular platform amongst Australian enterprise teams. On it, you’ll find a wide variety of solutions, including:
- Online meetings
- Video conferencing
- Instant messaging
- Screen sharing
- File sharing
- Virtual events
With Online Meetings, you can host interactive meetings and webinars with as many as 1,000 attendees. Or, you can hold broadcasts with up to a whopping 10,000 attendees. It’s incredibly scalable.
Here are some the core features of Online Meetings:
- Convenient meeting sending invites
- One-touch start to begin meetings
- Integration with Microsoft 365 to seamlessly share content like documents and spreadsheets
- Meeting chats
- Digital whiteboarding for creative brainstorming
- Audio, visual, and screen sharing recording and automatic transcription to review conversations later on
- Access to notes from previous meetings
- In-meeting polls to increase engagement
- Live captions
- Convenient next meeting scheduling through the Microsoft Teams app or Outlook
Another powerful solution is Teams Connect, which “enables you to share channels with anyone, whether inside or outside or your organisation. Easily chat, meet, collaborate on apps, share content, and co-author documents in real-time in the shared channel.”
Teams Connect is designed to help you stay organised and allows you to store and manage all your conversations and files from one central location. There’s file sharing, through which workers can store, access, and collaborate on files in the office, at home, or on the go. There’s coauthoring, where team members can work on the same file in real-time with automatic syncing whenever changes are made. And there are private channels, where team members can have private conversations, while easily controlling access and keeping content sharing secure.
One really innovative feature Teams offers is “Together mode,” which looks at the faces and body language of team members. By picking up non-verbal cues, it automatically knows which person to focus on for frictionless interactions without the need for manual shifting.
This platform offers impeccable AV quality, offering your team fluid communication with no disruptions. Long story short, Microsoft Teams has the capability to deliver smooth collaboration between team members working on-site and those working remotely. It works great for private one-on-one meetings, but it can also be scaled for company-wide meetings at the enterprise level, making it perfect for large Australian organisations.
If you’re currently a Microsoft user and are already familiar with the Microsoft 365 suite (or if you’re transitioning away from Skype for Business), this is often the most logical collaboration platform to go with.
Zoom, a platform that currently boasts 300 million daily meeting participants and has seen 2900% growth since late 2019 is incredibly robust and offers the following:
- Over 1,000 app integrations
Perhaps the most well-known solution is Zoom Meetings, which is a simple, intuitive video conferencing platform with an emphasis on user-friendliness. With it, your team members can start and join meetings in-house or remotely using any device.
Here are some notable features on Zoom Meetings:
- Ultra high-quality HD audio and video
- Support for up to 1,000 video participants and 49 screens
- Simultaneous screen sharing for in-depth interactions
- Reactions, polls, and “hand raising” for maximum team engagement
- Team chat, which can involve 1:1 interactions or group calls
- Searchable chat history and transcripts to find details from a conversation
- Integrated file sharing
- Built-in calendar syncing to ensure team members show up on time
There’s also Zoom Rooms, which offers a highly interactive experience for in-office and remote workers with “HD video and audio, wireless content sharing, and interactive whiteboarding.” With it, you can seamlessly book and start meetings with the touch of a button and conveniently share content across your team to keep everyone on the same page from project conception to completion.
Many Australian enterprises love Zoom Rooms because of the flexibility and scalability they offer. Whether you need to conduct a small, private meeting in a huddle room with just a few people, a large scale conference room with over 20 people, or anything in between, Zoom Rooms can accommodate it. With this solution, you can fully customise every aspect of your AV system to create a high-end user experience for everyone involved.
And when it comes to remote employees, Zoom creates a similar experience as if they were physically in your office. Some of the new features Zoom has added to facilitate this include:
- Crystal-clear audio with advanced background noise suppression
- Adjustable camera touch to improve appearance
- Advanced lighting controls
- A wide array of reactions for more in-depth communication
It’s also worth noting that, according to Zoom, companies that use the platform experience a significant spike in performance, trust, and engagement. Here are some stats they provide:
If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward platform with myriad features and limited complications, Zoom is definitely an option to consider.
Another collaboration platform that’s gained a lot of momentum lately is Cisco Webex, with nearly 60 million users as of October 2020. Cisco Webex is an easy to use, all-in-one solution that allows you to meet, call, and message, enabling your team to get work done more efficiently without wasting time.
According to the platform, Webex offers “10x better experiences than in-person interactions”, which speaks to the impact it can have on largely remote workforces.
Here are Webex’s key features:
- Smart hybrid work experiences with integrated collaboration devices
- Simple content sharing, which can be done in the meeting background or through video overlay
- Advanced video layouts with drag-and-drop capabilities
- Automatic noise blocking and speech enhancement, which is ideal for remote workers
- Reactions through emojis, clapping, and thumbs up or down for seamless expression and a high level of engagement
- “Smart status,” which automatically lets team members know when someone is in a meeting or out of the office
- Do not disturb mode, which workers can access for periods of deep focus
- Convenient call to meeting transitioning
- Team messaging
- AI transcriptions to automatically take notes and record conversation highlights
- Calendar integrations
Webex also offers powerful meeting room controls, such as a meeting control bar, breakout rooms for dividing into smaller meetings, and blurred backgrounds; a nice touch for creating professional aesthetics.
In terms of the maximum number of meeting attendees, you can have up to 1,000 with Webex, making it well-suited for large scale enterprise teams. However, sessions can also be as small as two people meeting 1:1 for private discussions.
End-to-end collaboration platform management and maintenance
One last consideration when selecting a potential provider is the management and maintenance side of these collaboration platforms. While all the solutions we’ve mentioned are intuitive and user-friendly, some organisations struggle with designing, deploying, and overseeing them. It can be especially tricky for very large enterprises with hundreds or even thousands of staff members, some of whom may be scattered remotely.
Choosing the right hardware and AV components can be a tricky task in and of itself. And when you combine that with the need to replace and upgrade equipment periodically, many companies find it more efficient and cost-effective to turn to an expert partner for support.
Engagis, for example, offers a solution as a managed service that will design and deploy meeting room, presentation, and video conferencing solutions based on the exact needs of your organisation. By carefully selecting a collaboration platform and choosing the right AV components, Engagis delivers the highest quality experience, while ensuring maximum uptime for your team.
Solutions are available for meeting rooms of all sizes — small, medium, and large. Engagis takes care of the installation and support services, creating a hands-off solution that ensures “business as usual” operations. All your team has to do is show up and collaborate — not deal with the technical details.
Want to learn more about how Engagis can help you set up and maintain state of the art meeting room solutions? Reach out to one of our experts today.