IT organizations looking for team workspace and content collaboration tools for creative professionals will find that solutions fall on a very broad spectrum of capabilities. In fact, IT shouldn’t be surprised to see business stakeholders take the evaluation process in different directions as they discover new solution types.
On one end of the content collaboration tools spectrum sit tools designed to facilitate the creative process. These tools include whiteboard features, as well as idea capture and creative process tools. The other end encompasses narrowly defined tools for creating and collaborating on very specific visual content types. No one approach is necessarily better than the other, but some may be a better fit for a creative team’s workstyle or the content team members need to create.
When examining content collaboration solutions, matching features to workstyles will be important to successful adoption and happy users. If a team likes to collectively brainstorm ideas, a solution such as Mural may be a strong fit. It includes dynamic whiteboard capabilities and even has facilitation tools, such as session timers and idea voting, to help move the creative process along. Tools such as Red Pen and Visme, meanwhile, focus on content creation, collaboration and feedback processes.
Content collaboration tools that provide feedback mechanisms are also worth considering. Generally, these tools manage comments on graphics and images using some kind of layering approach, where contributor feedback resides on different layers over the image. Content collaboration tools that provide the ability to collect anonymous feedback or to limit the feedback visible to commenters may be beneficial as they can help teams avoid groupthink and eliminate bias.
Also consider that a single solution may not be the best fit for the needs of all stakeholders; a mix of two or three tools, using a shared repository and integrating with existing collaboration tools, may be the best approach. For example, some solutions will have more complete tool sets for website and mobile application design and development, with wireframing and user journey tools. Content collaboration tools such as Frame.io provide features specific to video editing, while others include integration with marketing tools that help the finished content fit into the overall buyer journey.
The more comprehensive the solution, the more important capabilities such as templates and integration with other collaboration tools will become. Look for tools that have dedicated project management, document repository and chat features that could overlap with existing enterprise systems. This kind of integration with existing platforms helps to ensure compliance and makes handing off work easier. Helping creative teams budget for integration work should be part of the evaluation process.
IT teams should also consider if the creative teams need to work with other internal teams and third parties, including creative agencies, consultants or freelancers. The roles of these users can impact costs. For some solutions, licenses depend on the role in the creative process, with commenters not necessarily incurring a license cost. This means that while design team members need to be licensed, key stakeholders that review and approve content may not.
Finally, when working with third parties, IT teams may need to consider mechanisms for integration with and access to an enterprise document repository. It may be advisable to have agencies license and manage their own workspace in a way that allows them to transfer ownership of content after final approval. Teams should also consider the need to identify and manage content that includes licensed images, such as stock photography. They also need to be able to identify if and when content licenses expire.
Content is more important than ever to organizations, but that’s where the commonalities typically end. To find the best content collaboration tools for the business, it will be important for IT pros to guide creative end user teams to collaboration solutions that fit their workstyle and integrate with existing systems and processes.