Best Collaboration Tools123Collaboration platforms applications are software tools that adds broad social networking capabilities to work processes. Collaboration tools differ from community platforms in that they are focused on making internal teams more productive by enabling document sharing, workflow, social collaboration, etc.Airtable1https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/0B/A7/0A0EZ9Z74S8G-180x180.JPEGMS SharePoint2https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/cN/9h/MTL0RZL1QRTR-180x180.PNGSlack3https://media.trustradius.com/vendor-logos/Vc/NN/VST6EURIFM23-180x180.PNGTrello4https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/yg/eS/3U4TA8KT099D-180x180.PNGLifesize Video Conferencing5https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/Fu/TF/CTRQWR3WTSJK-180x180.JPEGHipChat6https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/s4/7s/SH57JWI2Q0GD-180x180.JPEGWrike7https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/BA/5U/M0M0AG818UQX-180x180.PNGAsana8https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/0X/aE/ZEAMWGLA4T3U-180x180.PNGSkype for Business (formerly Lync)9https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/Oi/iS/FCFVWJ699QTI-180x180.PNGGoogle Drive10https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/A7/5B/9MZXUQGGIEX2-180x180.PNGBasecamp11https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/en/ak/I80OEOGARRD3-180x180.PNGGenesys PureCloud12https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/YY/xd/SUBPS3J2X7LM-180x180.JPEGPlanview Projectplace13https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/wg/xc/6LSFXQ4NITER-180x180.JPEGAtlassian Confluence14https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/WZ/uK/U73JLJED2UUG-180x180.JPEGEvernote15https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/9L/4n/EE22Q0XN8S1Q-180x180.JPEGFuze16https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/Vs/zU/41QQ840QO2WN-180x180.JPEGDropbox Business17https://media.trustradius.com/vendor-logos/PZ/1W/ES5NDBBQEM09-180x180.PNGmonday.com18https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/47/jy/N65K1CZWNGB7-180x180.PNGJabber19https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/M3/wU/TET3E809JIJL-180x180.JPEGTeamwork Projects20https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/mh/1u/TU5KTERSIK41-180x180.PNGMicrosoft Yammer21https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/kl/2E/5I8IAH7AA4L4-180x180.JPEGWorkplace by Facebook22https://media.trustradius.com/vendor-logos/u5/0J/IAUX15TCG2JT-180x180.PNGChatter23https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/q8/cs/V54STLL8AU3S-180x180.PNGCitrix Podio24https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/Am/QX/THTUERUPWEX0-180x180.PNGJive25https://media.trustradius.com/product-logos/IB/1H/T65EXQPQ8BOI-180x180.PNG

Collaboration Tools

Best Collaboration Tools

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Collaboration Tools Overview

What are Collaboration Tools?

Collaboration software makes working together on professional projects easier and faster. It reduces bottlenecks in feedback and approval processes. The three core areas of functionality for collaboration tools are:

  • Communication
  • Project & task management
  • File sharing & management
Some products stress one feature set over another. These take a best-of-breed approach, and work well if they offer integrations. For example, Slack is an online team collaboration app focused on messaging and file sharing. For everything else, it integrates with other software tools.

Collaboration tools are closely related to a number of other types of software, including:

All of these platforms include collaboration features, though most are limited to a specific channel or type of interaction.

Sometimes collaboration tools can replace these more traditional solutions, but it is more common to integrate collaboration tools with existing communication and workflow structure. Often collaboration tools bring interactions that would otherwise be handled by separate platforms into a convenient central location.

Collaboration Tools Features & Capabilities

Communication

Some collaboration tools have communication capabilities at their core. Examples include Skype, Google Hangouts, and HipChat. Other collaboration features are available but may have a limited scope.
Communication features across collaboration tools include:

  • Options for integrated messaging. Live chat, comments within a file and private/group messages are all common
  • Privacy and access settings
  • Conference calling
  • Video chats with screensharing
  • Project-based conversations

Project & Task Management

Many online collaboration tools have basic project and task management capabilities. They are not usually as advanced as traditional project management platforms. Collaboration tools noted for significant project & task management features include:

Others walk the line of collaboration and project management. For example, Wrike features project management tools, but it’s designed like a social network to make engaging with team members easy.

Project management features are usually more important to larger teams. They also work for interdepartmental teams or teams within larger organizations. Collaboration features related to project & task management can include:

  • Workflow automation

  • Tracking location and changes to a file

  • Brainstorming tools/pinboards

  • Task lists and assignments. These are complete with due dates, sub-tasks and file attachment

  • Scheduling, calendar integration, reminders and alerts

  • Gantt charts

File Sharing & Management

Some tools focus on file sharing and management. These include:


They also offer significant opportunities for collaboration. Collaboration features central to file sharing include:

  • Security

  • Support for different file types

  • Comments and notes attached to files

  • Track changes and versioning

  • Editing permissions and access control

  • Shared folders

Online Collaboration Tools

Locally hosted collaboration solutions (like Redbooth Private Cloud) are less common than online SaaS collaboration tools. Online solutions are more abundant and often more convenient for end-users. They work particularly well for remote teams and employees who need to collaborate on common tasks.

They come in many forms, from mobile apps to browser extensions.

Some tools are industry and use case-specific. For example, Mural.ly and ConceptBoard are tools for graphic designers. On the other hand, Microsoft Yammer is more like a social network for corporate enterprises, regardless of department or industry. Other use cases for collaboration software include:

  • Creating an internal knowledge base for employees with a product like Confluence

  • Creating flow charts or mapping out ideas visually with a product like MindMeister

  • Creating group to-do lists with a product like Trello

Adoption

Adoption is key to success with collaboration software. It is only effective if everyone on the team is on board with the software.

It is important to choose a collaboration tool that is easy to use. The tool should also fit your team’s culture and goals. There are dozens of collaboration products on the market -- and it’s ever-growing!

To help you find a good fit, consider these questions:

  • What types of projects will you collaborate on?

  • What are the steps of a typical project?

  • How does your team handle communication and workflow?

  • Where do you store project files?

  • How many people will be collaborating? How many departments?

  • Will project managers or team members be collaborating? Both?

  • What other platforms and apps does your team use? How does the tool handle integration?

  • How formal or informal will collaboration be? Will all discussions be related to work on specific projects, or will some be social?

  • Will all conversations be archived?

Pricing Information

Collaboration software is usually priced by user on a monthly subscription.

Most vendors offer a free tier for up to a certain number of users. The free tiers usually have a more limited set of features and capabilities. There are many basic free online collaboration options, including GoVisually, Trello, Podio and Google Drive for example.

For paid plans, pure collaboration tools focused on notes, tasks, and chat start around $8/mo. per user. For collaboration tools that include cloud storage, pricing starts at around $10/mo. per user, and goes up from there based on storage size.

Collaboration Products

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Airtable

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Top Rated
297 Ratings

Airtable is a project management and collaboration platform designed to enable content pipelines, product management, events planning, user research, and more. It combines spreadsheet,database, calendar, and kanban functionality within one platform.

MS SharePoint

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Top Rated
1430 Ratings

MS SharePoint / SQL refers to Microsoft Sharepoint, a web-based collaborative platform, being used in tandem with Microsoft SQL Server to provide business intelligence analytics and reporting. They can provide BI content such as data connections, reports, scorecards, dashboards, and more.

Slack

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Top Rated
2638 Ratings

Slack is a group messaging or team collaboration app that aims to simplify communication for businesses. Features include open discussions, private groups, and direct messaging, as well as deep contextual search and message archiving, and file sharing. Slack integrates with a number of other tool...

Trello

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Top Rated
1295 Ratings

Atlassian is a global software company that provides software development and collaboration tools to help teams conceive, plan, build and launch great products. The company says more than 20,000 organizations of all sizes use Atlassian's issue tracking, collaboration and software development tool...

Lifesize Video Conferencing

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Top Rated
257 Ratings

Lifesize is a web conferencing platform focused on making video conferencing systems and video conferencing apps work well together, while still being easy-to-use. Their platform incorporates web conferencing software with meeting room devices and wireless screen sharing.

Wrike

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Top Rated
296 Ratings

Wrike is a project management and collaboration software. This solution connects tasks, discussions, and emails to the user’s project plan. Wrike is optimized for agile workflows and aims to help resolve data silos, poor visibility into work status, and missed deadlines and project failures.

Asana

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Top Rated
986 Ratings

Asana is a web and mobile project management app. With tasks, projects, conversations, and dashboards, Asana lets an entire team know who's doing what by when, enabling workload balancing. Users can also add integrations for GANTT charts, time tracking and more.

Skype for Business (formerly Lync)

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Top Rated
1748 Ratings

Skype for Business is part of Microsoft’s 365 suite offering and provides an IP PBX for online messaging and web conferencing. It includes features such as live streaming, dialing into conference calls, and the ability to make, receive, and transfer calls via computer or mobile device.

Google Drive

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Top Rated
3356 Ratings

Google Drive is a cloud file storage, synchronization, and collaboration platform and service, that features Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for document editing and presentation.

Basecamp

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Top Rated
905 Ratings

Basecamp is a web-based project-management tool. Basecamp offers features standard to project management platforms, as well as mobile accessibility, unlimited users, and 3rd party integrations. Basecamp is priced by space requirements and concurrent projects.

Genesys PureCloud

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Top Rated
196 Ratings

Genesys PureCloud is a contact center application optimized for automatic call distribution, interactive voice response, email, social media, chat, and text/SMS. It is also a VoIP interconnect service provider.

Planview Projectplace

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279 Ratings

Projectplace is a collaborative work management solution. The vendor says the product is built with teams of all sizes and complexity in mind, from virtual teams of five to entire global enterprises with tens of thousands of active users. It is also designed to incorporate waterfall and agile wor...

Atlassian Confluence

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Top Rated
908 Ratings

Confluence is a collaboration and content sharing platform used primarily by customers who are already using Atlassian's Jira project tracking product. The product appeals particularly to IT users.

Evernote

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Top Rated
1347 Ratings

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then t...

Fuze

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123 Ratings

Fuze is a cloud-based unified communications platform that includes IP PBX voice service, video conferencing, and collaboration tools such as content sharing and instant messaging capabilities. It also integrates with a wide range of popular CTI, CRM, and click-to-call solutions.

Dropbox Business

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Top Rated
509 Ratings

Dropbox Business expands on the company's cloud storage service by providing additional features, such as lost file recovery for an extended period, integration with popular office suites (e.g. Office 365), the Dropbox Paper collaboration extension, two-factor authentication (2FA) and single sign...

monday.com

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133 Ratings

Monday is a project management tool. Monday includes productivity features such as customizable workflows, time tracking, automated notifications, dependencies, integrations, and timeline views. The tool is highly customizable and adaptable to various workflows and team sizes.

Jabber

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Top Rated
201 Ratings

Cisco Jabber is a communication platform that is available as a browser-based and mobile app solution. It allows users to collaborate across channels such as instant messaging, voice, VoIP, and video telephony. Features include voice and video calling, call recording, and broadcast messaging.

Teamwork Projects

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Top Rated
110 Ratings

Teamwork Projects takes care of the details so teams can focus on delivering results, allowing the user to own the big picture.Designed to make it easy for everyone to see what they’re working on, who they’re working with, and what comes next — whatever the size of the team. Regardless of methodo...

Microsoft Yammer

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264 Ratings

Yammer is used for private communication within organizations or between organizational members and pre-designated groups, making it an example of enterprise social software. It originally launched as an enterprise microblogging service and now has applications on several different operating syst...

Chatter

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77 Ratings

Salesforce Chatter is a collaboration platform with integration into the business process and the ability to conduct actions like approving expense reports and creating support cases from the activity feed itself. Other key features include a mobile application and document management functionality.

93 Ratings

Podio is a cloud-based platform for organizing team communication, business processes, and reporting in project management workspaces; also it may be used as a light CRM platform. It enables workflow automation and integrations. It includes a free version and paid packages with additional features.

88 Ratings

Aurea is the technology behind some of the world’s greatest customer experiences, for the largest and most successful brands. Aurea’s platform, engagement, and vertical solutions help companies create exceptional, end-to-end experiences for their customers – driving both retention and growth. Aur...