The Pros and Cons of Major Online Collaboration Tools: Basecamp, TeamWork and Slack.

By January 13, 2016General
Basecamp, TeamWork, Slack

The need for online collaboration software grows by the day, with the number of people working in a virtual office either full time or part time increasing. With all the tools on the market, it seems like keeping your team organized, focused, and on task should be easier than ever, but in fact you have to guard against the tool taking over your life. That said, properly implemented these online collaboration tools can make you forget that your team members are across the state – or even on the other side of the world.

The proliferation of Wi-Fi as well as cloud computing and smartphones has made it easier than ever before to work from anywhere and in four years the American workforce is anticipated to be comprised of up to 40% freelancers, temp workers and contractors. This unbelievable shift in the workforce is made possible by next-gen online collaboration software and tools that are engineered to bring virtual teams together. When you’re working on a website created with WordPress, your support services team may be next door – but it’s a good possibility that they’re at least a phone call away.

Types of Virtual Collaboration

There are as many types of virtual collaboration needed as there are definitions of virtual teams: communications, project and task management, collaboration, document storage and collaboration, cross-platform collaboration, and collaborative brainstorming to name just a few. Some of these tools are inexpensive and even free, and may offer WordPress services that you can add in as well. Here’s a breakdown of some of the main online collaboration tools as well as pros and cons of each.

Slack

Overall, Slack is considered one of the best virtual communication tools available, simply because it is so intuitive to use and it feels like a chat room. Call things to someone’s attention with an @mention or send private messages via a channel. Search and star important information for later review and aggregate conversations any number of ways. Slack is a great way to eliminate unnecessary emails and have some fun with custom emojis. Plus, the privacy policy is second-to-none, so you can feel comfortable sharing details that may be confidential.

Pros: Broad range of access points – iPhone and Android apps plus desktop web app, integrates with Google Hangout and Dropbox, offers highly secure communication, and it’s not a memory hog.

Cons: Slack is strictly a communication platform – there are no project management tools and in what seems an odd “miss” for a chat platform – there are no idle or away messages for when you’re not available.

Basecamp / Teamwork

These platforms are so similar that it barely makes sense to differentiate. Setting up these systems can be a bit of a challenge, but once they’re structured appropriately, they make keeping up with your projects and communication strategies a breeze. Teamwork Projects offers a few additional perks over Basecamp such as the ability to prioritize tasks, milestones and time tracking with a downloadable time tracker.

Pros: Free trial available for both products, task templates, high install base of users for both options, as well as a high level of integration with other third-party apps like Dropbox and Gmail. iPhone and Android apps available for each.

Cons: Customer service is lacking for both, there’s no 2-step authentication and they both tend to crash a bit or experience latency depending on which browser and platform you’re using.

When you’re building a website, having your WordPress support team on the same collaboration tool can really help you ensure that you’re covering all possible options.