Which Internal Collaboration Tools are Ideal for a Company

Today a student asked me whether FaceBook could be used as a company collaboration tool. She was exploring how to create an internal collaboration space for a company’s members to interact together. The idea was to use an online space that team members could talk openly, away from clients and competitors’ eyes and ears.

It got me thinking about a range of needs of various company sizes.

If you want absolute simplicity and are a small company, you could use:

  • LinkedIn Groups set to private (LI is setting itself up as a collaboration site)
  • Facebook Groups (set to private)
  • Skype (if you want sharing of learnings with a focus on conversation, and real-time sharing, with a low need for document sharing)
  • Blog

If you want more range of tools available within the platform, increased functionality to collaborate and / or may be a mid-sized company, options that may suit are:

  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Ning
  • Yammer
  • Wiki

If you are a large company or need maximum, Enterprise level functionality:

  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Ning
  • Yammer
  • Wiki
  • other specifically developed Social Enterprise Networking / Internal collaboration tools
  • IBM, Oracle Microsoft collaboration tools e.g. Sharepoint

Your choice of tool will depend on what the purpose is, the future use, and current needs, ability to scale as your  company grows or as collaboration grows. Here are some ideas to :

Before you decide what tool you will use, you would need to explore and decide what:

  1. Purpose of the tool
  2. Current needs
  3. Future needs and ability to scale with growth of use and growth of the company
  4. Type of information / media needs that will shared and in what kind of format (e.g. podcasts, webinars, pdfs, Slideshare / Powerpoint, Q & A, info dumping, market feedback, best practice, social events etc).
  5. Functionality you need eg. discussion only? ease of searching for old discussions and data? ability to download / upload?

There are many examples of these being used in New Zealand and offshore:

  1. Chapman Tripp, an NZ law firm,  uses Facebook internally
  2. Microsoft lead developers uses blogs to communicate new developments
  3. Telstra Clear NZ favours LinkedIn Groups (private) as a communication tool
  4. Banks, airlines are using a range of Social Media tools for internal communications, not just marketing

What questions do you have about internal collaboration?


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