Four selection criteria for the right collaboration tool

Nothing works without virtual collaboration – and the right tools for it. VNC has identified four key quality features when evaluating suitable collaboration tools.

Remote Working saved many companies and organizations from collapse during the Corona crisis. Countless workflows, work processes and supply chains could not have been maintained without home office and mobile working. These experiences have messenger, video conferencing systems, embedded whiteboards, groupware, communication and Brainstorming-Tools have become tools that are now taken for granted in everyday work and without which future work organization would be unthinkable. However, the experience gained with this also shows that their selection requires special care in order to use the potential correctly and to minimize existing risks. VNC, developer and provider of open source-based enterprise applications, lists the four most important criteria for evaluating suitable tools:

  1. Independence of space, time and device: Collaboration-Tools must in principle run anywhere and anytime on all mobile and stationary end devices, regardless of the respective operating system. Important for this are the use of standardized technologies and the support of standard protocols, such as WebRTC for video applications, as well as the provision as a browser app or as a flexible SaaS application. Proprietary formats, plug-ins or clients, on the other hand, are a hindrance. This also applies to a bandwidth requirement that is too high, which narrows the potential applications.
  2. Functional integration, openness and interoperability: Neither “all-in-one” models (complex, inflexible, expensive) nor “best-of-breed” concepts (time-consuming integration of sub-functions) achieve the interoperability and functional depth of modular tool stacks that integrate all desired communication channels. The modular structure permits a targeted selection of the range of functions required in individual cases, including the possibility of expansion or reduction at any time, for example if certain functions are no longer needed. A common code basis also ensures seamless data exchange between all program modules.
  3. Intuitive operation, high level of acceptance, low training requirements: the common code base is also the prerequisite for consistent operating logic and user interface design of all program modules. This makes it possible to use the functions of a module (e.g. the messenger) directly from another module or to switch seamlessly from one communication tool to another. This and the orientation towards frequently used apps from the private environment of gaming and social media in terms of look and feel ensure a high level of acceptance among users, who can work quickly and safely with the tools. This reduces both operating errors and the necessary expenses for training and education.
  4. Fulfillment of security and compliance requirements: Data security and conformity with security and compliance guidelines are all overriding exclusion criteria. However, safety begins with the basic technology. For example, GDPR compliance cannot be achieved with closed source. That’s why open source is so important. The possibility of free choice of the provision model (hosting) ensures that users can freely decide at any time where their data is stored in a security-compliant manner and to whom it is passed on. If the tools are provided exclusively via provider-exclusive hosting, this option does not apply.

“Experience has shown that a spontaneous selection or a purely superficial examination of collaboration tools wastes many opportunities that lie in the use of suitable software stacks,” emphasizes Andrea Wörrlein, Managing Director of VNC in Berlin and Member of the Board of Directors of VNC AG in train. “It should also not be forgotten that the use of unsuitable tools, in addition to unnecessarily high costs and insufficient support for work processes, also involves high security risks that can endanger the reputation or even the existence of the company.”

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