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What is collaboration?



Collaboration is the joint effort of several people to accomplish a task or carry out a project. To achieve this goal, the participants can be separated both spatially and organizationally.

Collaboration can be asynchronous. In this case, the team members do not necessarily work together and communicate at the same time. In contrast, in synchronous collaboration, which is referred to as real-time collaboration, team members work together simultaneously and communicate while working together.

The collaboration market segment was born out of this need to provide teams with the right tools for effective communication.

What is a collaboration platform?

After defining what collaboration is and how it works, a brief digression on what exactly a collaboration platform is.

At the core of a content platform is access to data from anywhere, whether on a desktop or via a smartphone. This access is ensured by file synchronization between the connected end devices and cloud repositories.

This also includes sharing data with people or connected applications, with the collaboration tool, within or outside a company.

Configurable folders enable controlled collaboration within the project.

The development of the collaboration market

In the past, a company’s traditional intranet, which employees could connect to, lacked programs for modern collaboration. Exchanging information via email and Word documents, which anyone could add comments to, was hardly efficient.

This dilemma, coupled with increasing mobility and flexibility, initially gave rise to numerous agile project management programs such as Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Projectplace and many others to improve the workflow.

The high growth rates in the market for collaboration software also brought the digital giants Microsoft and Salesforce onto the scene. Microsoft released “Microsoft Teams” in March 2017, which has been continuously developed ever since. In December 2020, Salesforce completed the acquisition of Slack for the astronomical sum of 27.7 billion US dollars.

Collaboration with Slack

Slack was originally introduced in response to an overloaded enterprise collaboration market. The clear aim was to convince users in the company and management with the greatest possible user-friendliness and integration capability – and this has been achieved.

The platforms previously available proved to be rather cumbersome. They caused so much dissatisfaction among users in terms of usability that many switched to using unapproved tools or in-house developments, resulting in many individual “data islands” that were unknown to each other. These islands did not lead to improved collaboration processes – the users of each individual app remained and did not share all the information.

Slack is intuitive to use, you can communicate easily and spontaneously in ad hoc groups, with individuals in the company network or even via social networks on a topic-oriented basis – whether via the messaging function or video conferencing and audio calls. This is the major advantage of Slack, which initially saw itself purely as a tool for communication and wanted to speed it up – and was successful in doing so (see the purchase price of Salesforce).

The full effects of a collaboration tool like Slack can be expected after the acquisition of Salesforce.

The acquisition makes integration into a CRM easier – at least into Salesforce’s CRM. Successful integration across different areas makes it possible to make business processes more collaborative internally. The results of this collaboration can then be automatically mapped in the CRM and connected systems. This allows business teams to react quickly to new processes, which increases their productivity enormously.

And the desire to take advantage of these benefits is also reflected in Salesforce’s recent efforts to align itself as a “Slack first” company.

Slack has helped to significantly improve the Salesforce Service Cloud. The time until a case is closed in the system has been reduced by 26%. The Service Cloud performed excellently in the last quarter, with the area experiencing extreme growth. This area and the product is now the largest customer service product in the world.

Collaboration with teams

Microsoft Teams doesn’t need to shy away from comparison with Slack.

The “chat offspring” from Microsoft offers a variety of useful functions that facilitate spontaneous and long-term collaboration between groups and individuals in the company. The solution is also increasingly focusing on the possibility of integrating files from file folders.

Similar to Slack, Teams provides all the functions that employees need during conversations: Document attachments, image attachments as well as other products. MS Teams also supports searching for archived messages, can restrict messages to subgroups within a group – depending on the communication focus – and creates configurable notifications so that every project member receives an immediate status update.

An unbeatable advantage of MS Teams is its deep integration into the entire world of Office 365, so collaborative file access via OneDrive or Sharepoint is no problem and data can be made available effortlessly. Editing a file is no problem and your team can immediately incorporate any changes into their work.

The link between Teams and Microsoft Dynamics is also particularly exciting. Similar to Salesforce and Slack, work can be revolutionized when collaboration software and CRM are connected.

What could such a new way of working look like? Quite simply, for example, finance teams can optimize order processing by exchanging orders and payment details with their colleagues in sales. A field engineer can inform the sales team about products that are approaching end of life so that the sales team can proactively offer replacement options. Or a sales team can close deals faster by understanding demand generation signals from the marketing department.

Collaboration and CRM

Simple functions in a CRM system can increase efficiency in teams. Chats can be used to communicate quickly and directly. Push notifications ensure that relevant information reaches those who need it without having to collect it themselves.

Collaboration in the CRM system enables uniform company-wide collaboration between teams, which is more important than ever in the last 18 months. With a complete and up-to-date information base, less time-consuming coordination, emails, research and inquiries are necessary. This allows companies to create space for synergies and innovations, because smooth collaboration and communication not only motivates, but also inspires new ideas. This means that nothing stands in the way of excellent customer management.

It is precisely this trend that is confirmed by the example of Microsoft and Salesforce. They are driving this topic through the strong further development of their own product and massive investments. Not only at the request of their own customers, but also to take advantage of the benefits of successful collaboration for themselves.


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What is collaboration?

Collaboration is the joint effort of several people to accomplish a task or carry out a project. To achieve this goal, the participants can be

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