If you want to stay successful in business, you need to stay connected– both with your team and with your vendors and clients.

Twenty years ago, just 3.6% of the world used the internet and the tools it offered. By the end of last year, that number had gone up to 54.4% of the global population and it’s growing.

Access to a reliable connection led to improvements in collaboration technology that make working together easier than ever.

Let’s take a look at the best of collaboration technology that’s helping businesses everywhere communicate better, build stronger relationships, and become more profitable.

1. Video conferencing software

The days of dropping everything and traveling extensively to be in the same room are gone. With video conferencing solutions all you need is your device, a headset, and wifi. You can then join a video conference anywhere in the world.

Unlike phone or email, video conferencing lets us interpret facial cues and creates less room for miscommunication. It’s incredibly similar to a face-to-face but costs a fraction of it– both in terms of lost time getting to a meeting and travel expenses.

One other thing makes video conferencing even more beneficial to the whole team. You can easily record meetings and add them to a searchable archive so that those who couldn’t make it can catch up later. Plus, most video conferencing software comes with chat and Q&A so people can ask questions and share resources without disturbing the meeting itself.

Not sure what video conferencing software to use with so many options on the market? Versatech can help you find and set up the perfect solution for your needs.

2. Screen recording software

Free, cloud-based screen recording software like Loom or Vidyard’s GoVideo makes recording a video using your laptop extremely easy. This can be really useful when collaborating on a project.

Instead of sending long emails or chat messages, team members can record their screens, quickly sharing information in a way that’s easy to consume and feels more personal than a message. And like conference recordings, these videos can be added to your internal database.

3. Instant chat tools

What better way to work together fast than through insta-chat?

Tools like Slack and Intercom do more than just let your team talk to each other in real time. Slack’s multiple channels are great for hosting discussions and sharing resources around specific topics.

Storing these conversations in a shared space means that everyone on the team has access to the same information and resources. At the same time, these tools allow teams to split off into smaller groups and have private conversations whenever necessary.

4. Search tools that scour your internal databases

When we have a question, most of us turn to Google or a similar search engine. After all, search engines are giant knowledge repositories.

But your business stores a lot of knowledge too– documents, meeting transcripts, internal memos. That knowledge can be used to improve your team’s performance and increase the power of your collaborative processes.

A tool like Collokia, shows both internal and external content during a search. It helps connect your team to the internal resources and people they can call on as well as what’s outside of the organization. This helps you leverage all the resources at your disposal.

5. Feedback tools

Asking your team for feedback on a project in Slack or your project management tool can be useful. However, a lot of people struggle giving honest feedback in a shared space.

That’s why businesses can rely on anonymity to get quality answers. Tools like POPin make it easy to create and run a focused, anonymous survey that asks a specific question and allows your team to speak freely.

The anonymity improves the quality of the feedback and helps with communication because it gives everyone the freedom to express what they think without worrying about sounding stupid.

After leaving feedback, team members can anonymously vote for the best comments. This allows the strongest feedback to rise to the top because it removes factors like the commenter’s popularity or your friendship with them from the decision making process.

6. Project management tools

Project management software like Asana, Trello, and Basecamp has done a lot to make collaboration easier.

These tools are interactive and update in real time. You can add various supporting assets including links, videos, Google docs and pdf files.

Using a project management tool makes it easy for everyone to talk about a project in a dedicated space, instead of spreading the conversation out over multiple locations. This decreases the chance that things will get lost in the noise or important tasks would get missed. It’s easy to see what’s done, what isn’t, and what still needs doing.

7. Interactive whiteboards

For co-located businesses who run a lot of ideation meetings– or just those that tend to use whiteboards to sketch out ideas like design studios, marketing departments, or product departments– interactive whiteboards can be perfect for collaborating.

8. Cloud-based collaboration solutions

This is a broad category because the perfect tool for you depends on the type of work you do. But cloud-based collaboration software like Airstory for copywriters, Invision for designers, and the Google Suite for pretty much all of us, make working together and sharing that work effortless.

Teams can work together on the same document in real time. We can make live edits, leave comments, and track changes. It’s easy to search through what’s been done and make immediate changes.

9. Ease of sharing

How easy is it for your team to find the information they need?

On the team side, tools like AnswerHub allow your team to search through a database of answers to various questions. It’s like an internal FAQs.

A part of a larger process

For collaboration tech to really work for your business, and bring in tangible results like a measurable increase in productivity, production, or sales, it needs to be a part of a larger process.

Make sure you integrate each new tool into your workflow and train your team on how to use it.