The Must-Have Tools for Online Collaboration

If you’re starting a collaborative project, it’s natural to assume that you already have the tools required to complete the task. But experience project managers know that phone calls and emails will only get you so far: your team will require tools for collaboration and communication beyond the functionality of email. Effective collaboration online requires these must-have tools, whether the team is in the same office or on a different continent.

Document and File Editing

If you’re going to be working on projects together, you need the ability to edit documents together. Tools like Google Docs and Zoho Writer provide the core collaboration platform you need for editing documents as part of a team. You can see changes happen in real time, with live updates on cursor positions, an audit trail of edits, and tools for editing, review, and approval processes.

Online Review and Approval

Zoho Writer’s collaborative editing and review system provides built-in version track and revision history to anyone with access to the document.

With the right document tools, reviews and approvals can happen completely online. In the best environments, approvals and edits can be performed directly on the platform, with no need for extraneous emails that might be missed. And for visual deliverables, the ability to annotate files digitally is a must. The best collaboration platforms offer features that support this.

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Shared Cloud Storage

Zoho WorkDrive can provide a complete cloud storage solution for your organization.

Teams need access to all the relevant work created by team members. That level of access can eliminate communication bottlenecks. If you can look inside a document to find the answer you need, there’s no need to send an email to Jim and wait for his response to obtain the same information. Team members should have the same permissions for the project, with anyone able to access each other’s work. An audit trail prevents malicious activity, and rollbacks can recovery work lost for any reason. Zoho WorkDrive gives you organization the shared storage it needs to collaborate across an office or across a country.

Communication Tools

Zoho Cliq offers tools for rich text and video chat on multiple platforms.

Email might be the most broadly available tool for communication, but it’s far from ideal. It’s poorly suited to short communications, with email etiquette and expectations requiring a subject and a body. Chat functions are universally more effective than email, and multiple platforms have popped up to offer that kind of service. Slack is one, Microsoft Teams is another: any intranet provider will offer their own messaging tools as well. Zoho Cliq keeps your team connected on any device, anywhere. It’s a rich text and video chat tool that keeps everyone connected.

When communicating with your team, text communications are better than video chat. While a video might provide a good occasional check-in, text-based communication will always be more efficient when simply conveying information.

Shared Project Management

Zoho Projects gives managers the tools they need to keep projects on time and on budget.

Teams need to know where their project stands at any given time. Seeing the overview is essential for any team member, and shared project management software offers excellent tools to empower creativity and communication. Zoho Projects integrates intranet based functionality to track work and provide feedback at all stages of product development. With a Trello-style Kaban board, teams can use familiar tools to manage task priority and allocation.


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With a background in Operations Research and Data Analysis, Lucas is a Brazilian programmer that likes to get stuff done quickly and reliably. In previous jobs, he implemented industrial job scheduling, fleet management and detailed long-haul route optimization – among other data-driven processes – to reach objectives of increased profit and reduced wasted resources. His goal is to make Zoho fully automated and with more meaningful data for spot-on decisions.