Top Asynchronous Tools for Team Communication and Collaboration

July 30 2021
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LINAGORA is a global company with operations in more than six countries and four time zones. We have to work asynchronously to get work done, and we do with many tools. What do they all have in common? They are all free and open source. Some are developed internally while others are tools from the open-source community. Today, we are sharing the ones that make our collaboration and our daily life easier, so they can help you achieve the same.

1. Twake: Our Open Digital Workplace

Twake is the digital workplace we have been developing for two years, and it is above all, a company messaging system with discussion channels that allow us to organize conversations by subject. However, it also has all essential collaboration features like direct messaging, task manager, team calendar and document storage and management.

We can communicate with each other as well as with external partners on Twake. It’s an essential feature to be able to exchange with our suppliers, customers or freelancers. On these channels, there is the possibility of creating tabs. Among these, in addition to the conversation channel, we can, for example, add a tab dedicated to the document directory of the conversation. A way to gather all the favorite documents on the same subject. These document folders are connected with Only-office, an open-source office suite with real-time collaboration. Finally, with these tabs, there is also the possibility to add a task manager allowing to follow the projects with ease. Like Trello, the tasks are organized in cards arranged in columns. We can assign the cards to team members, attach a document or an image, fill in tags. These boards, organized in a list or Kanban allow following the progress of any project.

Twake is the tool that allows us to be aware of what’s going on in the company, to follow the projects but also to stay connected to our team members at all times.

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2. Only Office: Online Office Suite

Only Office is an online office suite that allows you to edit documents simultaneously. Word processing, spreadsheet, presentation. All the documents are gathered in the same place to be able to collaborate with ease in real-time. This allows us to always have the latest versions of our team’s documents. The editors ensure compatibility with Open Document, Microsoft Office.

The Only Office suite allows you to manage your documents by deciding on the level of access permission for collaborators to certain documents (editing, read-only, review, comment etc.).

In addition to the classic functions of collaborative suites, you will find a Gantt chart type tool that allows you to follow the progress of projects and organize teamwork. Thus, you can manage the performance of your teams, assign tasks and subtasks.

You can also manage the relationship with your customers by creating a powerful database to keep track of exchanges and issue invoices.

Among the latest interesting functions: the calendar, the email or the internal communication tool (forums, blogs, surveys etc.).

3. Jitsi: Video Conferencing

Like many of us for the last 18 months, we have seen an explosion of online meetings. Everyone has rushed to the most publicized systems, often posing problems of security and control of personal data. At LINAGORA, we use Jitsi, the free video conferencing software. During the pandemic, we launched https://avecvous.linagora.com/ platform using Jitsi to allow users to have free access to a videoconferencing platform that respects their personal data. This service guarantees high-quality audio and video to facilitate our remote exchanges such as during our weekly global meeting where we gather all the employees of the different entities to share company information.

The concept is simple, to create a meeting on Jitsi, choose a name for your meeting and the link is automatically generated. All you have to do is send it to your participants. There is no limit to the number of participants. However, everything depends on the power of the servers and the bandwidth you will use. Chat, screen sharing and the collaborative text editor are highly appreciated to facilitate the exchange during these meetings.

And once again, when it comes to security and control of your personal data, you won’t find better. The tool offers advanced security settings with systematic data encryption to ensure confidentiality during your discussions. Some conferences can even be protected by a password.

4. Linshare: Our file sharing platform

Linshare allows us to share and store large documents. A secure and open-source platform. It is the preferred file-sharing solution for the European Parliament which has been using it for several months. With Linshare you can share files internally and externally. You also have a personal space where you can store files. A very useful feature for team collaboration is to create a common sharing space. This way, the team has access to the same document and can keep them in the same place. On Linshare, all your activities are tracked in the activity log and you receive email notifications to know when and which members of your team have viewed, downloaded or commented on your files. Since July 2021, a new version is available that allows you to preview documents directly on the platform. Finally, concerning the control of data, they are stored in France, in compliance with GDPR. Linshare is developed by LINAGORA.

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5. KeePass XC: Robust Password Manager

Among the essential tools to ensure security in your company, there is the indispensable password manager. Free and open-source, at LINAGORA we use KeePass XC. Among the appreciated features: the integration with the browser to avoid having to copy and paste passwords manually, the generation of strong passwords to ensure security, the “old school” ergonomics which is quite easy to use. Concerning security, KeePass XC also offers the use of a 2FA code (multifactor - TOTP). The interoperability is interesting since it is present on Windows, Android, iPhone, OS X and of course Linux. We store all our passwords on KeePass XC. Thanks to the password export or import function, new employees have direct access to the passwords they will need from their first days in the company.

6. Open VPN

Open VPN is, as its name suggests, an open-source VPN. It establishes a private connection between our server and our VPN client. Open VPN is a VPN project that is supported by the open-source community and guarantees great security since the data is now encrypted and therefore not readable. It also can bypass many firewalls thanks to its multiple port support. Security and speed are the need of the hour.

Apart from LINAGORA’s WIFI, we cannot access our online documents without this VPN connection. This VPN allows all our employees to access a local network from anywhere while protecting the company’s data.

With all these powerful tools, LINAGORA can work with talent from all over the world very easily.

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