When it comes to business support software, collaboration tools are very much the flavour of the month. Every man and his dog has access to at least a couple of cloud-based, instant messaging, file-sharing tools to help boost productivity and cut down on email. When used in the right way they can help teams to interact, review and work together to complete projects and tasks quicker and easier. 
Something we've noticed when speaking to our customers about their business communication needs, is that many companies aren't getting the most out of their collaboration tools. Without the right level of research and training, your £10 a month, per user collaboration tool, recommended by your old university house-mate who runs a creative agency, is more likely being used to share pictures of cats than to make tangible differences to your bottom line. From buying the wrong software to not understanding how to navigate the interface or menus, here are the three most common mistakes when using collaboration software.
Learn the menus and shortcuts
Pretty much everybody that uses a computer is aware of keyboard shortcuts. "Ctrl + C" to copy, "Ctrl + V" to paste, "Ctrl, Alt + Del" when you've got a deadline to hit and your laptop crashes... With most collaboration tools, there is a whole host of similar shortcuts so you don't have to navigate the menus. From sharing files to starting a new group chat, the click of a couple of buttons is usually much quicker than trying to work your way through a complex menu.
And when it comes to menus, learning your way around is absolutely vital to getting all the efficiency benefits from the software. After all, if you're regularly spending 5-10 seconds just looking for conversations or files, then you're probably not saving any time. Choosing a tool that allows you to customise or favourite your group chats can help you to find the conversation you want quickly and easily.
Make sure it is compatible with your other software
Modern businesses often have at least a couple of pieces of day-to-day software in the cloud. Whether you have Google Drive or OneDrive, Dropbox or Box, if your other collaboration tools can interact and extract data and files from each other, then you're going to save so much time.
More often than not, however, your brand new collaboration tool is only compatible with some of your other cloud-based software, and that's with an extra monthly cost. Doing your homework to find the right piece of kit that helps you to create a smart, unified communications solution will give you the most benefit from your investment.
Make calls directly from your collaboration software
Unified communications solutions that use the internet to make and receive video and audio calls are becoming more widespread among businesses big and small. These solutions are often compatible with CRM tools, such as Salesforce, to allow staff to call customers directly from the software.
If you can make a call directly from your CRM software using a softphone to your customer then why shouldn't you be able to start a video conference with the touch of a button from your collaboration tool? As it turns out, you can but you need to make sure the product you choose is compatible with your unified communications solution.