Microsoft’s Productivity and Collaboration Tools for the Modern Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | Microsoft's Productivity and Collaboration Tools for the Modern Business

Whether you are a small business or a global enterprise, Microsoft offers a ‘productivity and collaboration’ toolkit for your organization at every stage. Starting at just $5.00 per user/month, Office 365 lets you tap into new opportunities to work better together, inspire new ideas, raise productivity, and empower greater insight throughout your journey to the top.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is the company’s flawlessly executed attempt at unifying its various communication and collaboration tools. If your company is struggling with microsoft implementation be sure to find a microsoft integration consultant and partner. And apparently, it is working.

The app is so popular and well-integrated within Microsoft’s ecosystem that competitors are finding it difficult to keep up with it. A cloud-based collaboration tool, Teams allows users to create teams and workflows, assign tasks, chat with other team members, share documents, and host video conferences, among more.

Teams is available as a standalone app and integrated with Office 365. So, even if you don’t purchase the suite, you can use the app free of cost forever. And with the new Praise update, which allows employees to celebrate each other’s work, it is certain that Microsoft Teams is the only collaboration tool you need.

Microsoft To Do

To Do is the easiest task management app that you will ever use. Of course, there are more advanced apps, such as Asana and Trello, but you need to spend some time understanding their functions to unlock their true potential.

Microsoft To Do, on the other hand, can be downloaded and incorporated into your workflow from the first minute. You don’t need any practice or manual to use it because you already know how.

The app allows users to add tasks, set reminders, and manage daily tasks by groups. It also lets you prioritize important tasks and share your lists so that anyone can see and edit them – making micro-collaboration extremely easy.

Since the app is cloud-synced, you can access your to-do lists on all your devices. Simply sign in to improve your productivity.


Skype is a powerful business tool. It is easy-to-use and has a better interface than its competitors. The best part is that the messages you exchange during the video or audio calls get stored and you can access them any time. And it is free, so there is no reason not to use Skype.

Here are some ways to use Skype for your small business –

  • Save time and money with online conference calls. It is easy to set up a meeting using Skype, and with one click, you can have up to 100 people on the line. You don’t need any codes or complicated passwords.
  • Keep your team on the same page with Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack, and it is integrated with Skype for Business – making it easy to share files, work on projects and keep in touch with your team. It integrates with Microsoft Office 365, so all your communications are built on the same platform.
  • Collaborate with freelancers or independent contractors. Skype integrates with Word and Teams. You don’t have to spend money to add independent collaborators to your database to share files, edit documents, and collaborate on projects. Once your project with them is over, you can simply remove them from the group and add new people.


SharePoint is Microsoft’s enterprise-level, cloud-based collaboration. Instead of sending emails back and forth and passing around files, SharePoint has two main components: a content management component and a collaboration component.

The content management component is designed to simplify document and information management. It makes finding, editing, sharing, and assigning documents simple. Whereas, the collaboration component includes features like document libraries, discussion boards, and team sites.


Anybody who has used a computer ever knows that PowerPoint is the industry standard for presentations. Businesses around the world use it because making professional-looking slideshows is a cakewalk in this app.

You can collaborate on a presentation by inviting people to co-author a presentation with you. And while they are working on it, they will see a notification on their desktop that will tell them when someone’s updating or making changes.

PowerPoint also allows you to control people’s actions on the presentation. You can allow certain members to only see the presentation and some to actually make changes. This can be a perfect arrangement for remote teams.

Even Apple’s Keynote fails to deliver the level of performance that PowerPoint does.

Collaboration Tools Could Save Your Business Money And Improve Morale

Rarely does a technology come along that provides nothing but benefits. But that’s precisely what collaboration tools seem to offer. These smart apps allow colleagues to work more efficiently and become happier at the same time.

Collaboration tools have become front-page news during the coronavirus pandemic. Businesses need quality solutions they can use to keep remote colleagues connected.

What Are Collaboration Tools?

Collaboration tools are essentially anything that makes it easier for people to work as a team. They facilitate the exchange of information and offer features that allow multiple people to work on projects simultaneously, even if they occupy remote locations.

Some collaboration tools offer messaging and real-time chat facilities. Others provide colleagues with the ability to edit documents or designs in concert with other people, dramatically boosting output.

Practically every collaboration tool depends on the cloud. Most are software-as-a-service. The business pays a monthly premium for a certain number of accounts, and then colleagues enjoy the proceeds.

Collaboration tools are easy to roll out. You don’t actually need a considerable amount of in-house expertise to get them up and running. If you have an MSP, they can take care of the process for you. And if you don’t, you simply download the relevant client, and the vendor will do most of the rest of the work for you.

What Are The Benefits Of Collaboration Tools?

We’ve alluded to the benefits of collaboration tools already in the above discussion. But it’s worth reiterating them here, to make it clear.

  • Better communication. With so many workers absent from the office, communication has become a sticking point for many firms. Keeping information flowing is a big challenge and one that they’re finding increasingly difficult. Collaboration software can fully reverse this situation and improve overall data fluidity in your organization compared to your regular setup. One colleague can start a project in the morning, and then another can finish it later in the day.
  • Keep track of current versions. What’s more, you can avoid ridiculous renaming of documents, like “final version 3.” The software just updates your work in the cloud, providing everyone with the latest version, plus a history of all revisions.
  • Keep people connected. Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of the office, even if they’re not there. They don’t want to feel like they’re part of the “out-group” and that people at HQ are somehow more important. Collaboration tools can stop this process in its track, allowing everyone to make valuable contributions to the work of the firm.

You should note that the collaboration tools also differ, depending on the underlying hardware. The difference between consumer and business Microsoft Surface devices is that the latter makes it much easier for colleagues to communicate with each other. Sharing options are better, as is the support for the collaboration tools themselves.

Collaboration tools in the cloud also allow you to cut down on the admin cost of administering your documents and systems. You no longer have to keep folders full of drafts of work, just in case you have to revert to a previous version. Instead, the cloud provides all that functionality natively. It’s almost magical.

Increase Your Profits

So what’s the effect of all of this on profitability? Quite large, as it turns out.

According to research, only around 14 percent of all emails actually have anything to do with getting work done. However, workers spend roughly half their day responding to emails, meaning that they have a massive effect on overall productivity.

Collaboration tools help to put an end to this endless back-and-forth. Colleagues know that if they want to check something, they can do it in real-time through the app, instead of sending an electronic letter to their colleagues.

Universal search facilities also help to improve the situation. If a worker is trying to find something, all they do is type a query into search. There’s no need to ask colleagues for further information.

More Security

Online collaboration tools are also incredibly secure. Servers in a secure farm somewhere hold and back up all the information. It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s much better than keeping all your data locally.

Cloud collaboration tool providers regularly scan for security threats and keep your products updated to the latest version. In general, the risks of a breach are low.

To conclude, individuals can make a big difference in your business, but teams are even more potent. If you can bring people together, your company will thrive.

What are the Best Collaboration Options for Modern Businesses?

As businesses increasingly move their operations to digital platforms, and in particular to cloud space, even the most traditional staples of running an organization are being improved by embracing technology.

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About the Author

Gemma Walford is head of Sales and Account Management for Convene for the EU region. She has extensive experience of the Public sector and is interested in improving productivity and business change.

What to Ask When Choosing Collaboration Software

As a modern and forward thinking business, no doubt that if you don’t already use cloud based collaboration software, you’re embedded in the process of discovering what options are out there for you and what they could offer.

While taking advantage of free trials of various software is a great way to identify what really works for your business, by ensure you choose exceptional products in the first place you can find a quicker path to enjoying the productivity gains these platforms can deliver.

Hi there! This article is available for free. Login or register as a StrategyDriven Personal Business Advisor Self-Guided Client by:

Subscribing to the Self Guided Program - It's Free!

About the Author

Gemma Walford is head of Sales and Account Management for Convene for the EU region. She has extensive experience of the Public sector and is interested in improving productivity and business change.