Selecting Collaboration Tools Tailored To Your Mid-Sized Business

In an increasingly dispersed workplace environment, implementing purpose-built collaboration platforms that unite remote and distributed employees is pivotal to empowering productivity.

However, with hundreds of apps and software services vying for your budget, and all of them claiming to have all the bells and whistles you will ever need, determining the right workplace collaboration toolkit for your specific team and use cases can be overwhelming. 

By focusing on your core business communication and document management needs first, then mapping the more specific capabilities you might need, you can build a collaboration stack that is uniquely catered toward your organisation’s structure and goals.

Consider these steps as a guide:  

Step 1. Outline How Your Teams Interact & Exchange Information

Begin by examining how the various cohorts across your business regularly interface and exchange information today. Document meetings cadence, channels used to communicate, and file, info or resource sharing flows that are currently in place. This foundational mapping will highlight areas that are ripe for enhancement or might help identify current workflow bottlenecks that using digital tools could eliminate.  

Step 2. Prioritise Platform Alignment With Existing Ecosystems

To maximize usability and adoption across teams with established preferences, target collaboration solutions that easily integrate with the business, productivity, and messaging apps your company already leverages daily. If Microsoft suites and Outlook underpin your current operations look to MS Teams. For Google Workspace centric users, Spaces merits consideration. Identifying extended alignment between apps can help minimise disruption. 

Step 3. Categorise Specific Functionality Needs

With current cross-functional interactions documented and links to existing systems within sight, break down any core purpose-driven categories that are essential for closing communication gaps:

  • Video Conferencing:  Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting, WebEx 
  • Team Messaging: Slack, Teams
  • File Sharing/ Cloud Content Collaboration: Teams, Dropbox, SharePoint, Drive
  • Project Management: Asana, Smartsheet, MS Project or Trello for visual project management

Rank the required features per category and group them against your various teams like sales teams, HR, developers, executives etc. This will highlight areas where one-tool may overlap across different categories and enable consolidating into less apps that are tailored to the needs of specific roles only. 

Step 4. Evaluate Top Contender Integrations & Mobility

Shortlist top 2-3 contenders per category that align with your current environment and any integration priorities, then compare how they rank on:

  • Cross-platform accessibility across different devices and OSes 
  • Ability to search for files/conversations
  • Automation/integration potential between different tools using workflows or APIs

If your organisation is reliant on remote/mobile workers you will have less flexibility with an app that only allows single device types or has access limits. Making sure any app you pick works seamlessly on different devices, etc. increases staff take up and acceptance.

Step 5. Consider Security, Governance & Compliance Factors

For mid-sized enterprises especially, evaluating a collaboration suite’s management controls, security protocols, access permissions, audit tracking, data residency, legal/regulatory compliance standards and backup functionalities is imperative before rollout. Multi-tenant SaaS-based tools often fall short here compared to self-managed private cloud options that give heightened data control. Choose tools that meet any security and compliance requirements.

Step 6. Ease Enterprise Integration, Adoption & Skill Building

Once you have selected the tools that are suited your business, think about how you can look at broader integration across the organisation. Consider running trials with teams that are open to using new tools so you can iron out any issues before launching to the wider organisation.

Provide your staff with any best practice guides and self-help support resources to smooth their onboarding pains. Most adjustments stemming from workflow changes can be softened through guidance. Reiterate benefits backed by data.


The takeaway for mid-size businesses is clear – while lots of specific solutions exist for every collaborative task imaginable, consolidating around a minimum viable toolkit that is purpose-built for your teams can increase productivity and alignment. Prioritise your organisation’s user experience and business priorities first, then evaluate marketplace options through an integration, mobility, and security lens.

Reach out to me if you want to discuss building a collaboration strategy suited for your business.

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