Collaboration Tools

Best Collaboration Tools include:

Slack, Google Drive, monday.com, Trello, Asana, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, Cisco Jabber, Atlassian Confluence, Skype for Business (formerly Lync), and MS SharePoint.

Collaboration Tools TrustMap

TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on trScore and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 50 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap.

Collaboration Tools Overview

What are Collaboration Tools?

Online collaboration software makes working together on professional projects easier and faster. It reduces bottlenecks in feedback and approval processes and allows for real-time communication. 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. It also includes audio and video conferencing capabilities. For everything else, it integrates with other software tools.


Because they each have slightly different specialties, many of the tools above are not perfectly comparable. Depending on your business needs, you may want to invest in a few different types of collaboration tools. For example, many teams use a messaging application like Slack for casual communication and also use web conferencing software to host online meetings.


Online 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 of online communication tools that specialize in this are include:



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 screen sharing
  • Project-based conversations

Project & Task Management

Another class of online collaboration tools have underlying project and task management capabilities at their core. These tools may not be as advanced as traditional project management platforms. However, they can be incredibly useful for online team collaboration and communication.


Examples of collaboration tools noted for significant project & task management features include:


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


Access to advanced project management capabilities is usually more important for larger or interdepartmental teams. 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

Other online collaboration tools focus on document storage, sharing, and management. Examples of these products 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?


Collaboration Tools Comparison

To help you more easily compare different types of collaboration tools, consider these 3 key factors:


  1. What’s the main purpose this tool will serve? For example, are you looking for an easy to use team instant messaging app? Or do you need a web conferencing tool that will be easy for employees and clients to use? Or maybe you’re looking for a new company intranet, or file and document sharing solution. Figuring out what business need(s) the tool will serve will help you identify which set of collaboration tools to evaluate.

  2. Ease of use, which helps determine how widely adopted the software will be, is highly important. If you invest in a collaboration tool that has a steep learning curve, it’s less likely to be adopted by the rest of your team. Look for tools that have high ‘usability’ ratings on the product scorecard tab on TrustRadius to help narrow down the list of products you’re considering.

  3. What does your budget for collaboration and communication software look like? This will likely depend on whether you are self-employed, a contract worker, an SMB, or an enterprise business. Many collaboration tools in this category have either free versions or free trials for your team to test out. However, if your business needs a very budget-friendly solution, look for tools that have a ‘forever free’ option.


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

(1-25 of 278) Sorted by Most Reviews

Airtable
328 ratings
204 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Slack
3,257 ratings
182 reviews
Top Rated
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 tools, …
Trello
1,504 ratings
171 reviews
Top Rated
Trello from Atlassian is a project management tool based on a Kanban framework. Trello is ideal for task-management in a to-do list format. It supports sharing boards and cards across users or teams. The product offers a free version, and paid versions add greater automation, collaboration, and admi…
MS SharePoint
1,574 ratings
168 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Wrike
352 ratings
150 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Genesys Cloud (formerly PureCloud)
236 ratings
133 reviews
Genesys Cloud (formerly 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.
Asana
1,183 ratings
132 reviews
Top Rated
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.
HipChat
560 ratings
132 reviews
Hipchat is discontinued by Atlassian. Users are being migrated to Slack.
Google Drive
3,841 ratings
131 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Microsoft Teams
579 ratings
129 reviews
Top Rated
Microsoft Teams combines video conferencing software with team collaboration tools. The communications platform allows MS Office users to conduct conference calls and share files via SharePoint, and join or initiate a group chat.
Skype for Business (formerly Lync)
1,970 ratings
126 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Basecamp
963 ratings
113 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Planview Projectplace
286 ratings
104 reviews
TRUE
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 workfl…
Dropbox Business
573 ratings
94 reviews
Top Rated
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-on…
Evernote
1,432 ratings
83 reviews
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 tagg…
Atlassian Confluence
1,009 ratings
82 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Cisco Webex Teams
166 ratings
81 reviews
Top Rated
TRUE
Cisco Webex Teams (formerly Cisco Spark) is cloud-based video conferencing system providing collaboration tools enabling teams to create, meet, message, call, care, whiteboard, share, regardless of geographical location.
Fuze
135 ratings
81 reviews
Top Rated
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.
monday.com
183 ratings
79 reviews
Top Rated
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.
Cisco Jabber
232 ratings
69 reviews
Top Rated
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
126 ratings
59 reviews
Top Rated
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 methodolog…
Chatter
91 ratings
55 reviews
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.
Microsoft Yammer
275 ratings
49 reviews
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 systems…
Workplace by Facebook
263 ratings
47 reviews
Facebook at Work allows users to interact with co-workers through the Facebook interface.
GanttPRO
45 ratings
42 reviews
GanttPRO is a project planning tool based on a Gantt chart approach. It visualizes all tasks along a timeline, and it supports resource management, collaboration within teams, and importing and exporting projects onto 3rd party programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are collaboration tools?

Collaboration tools help teams communicate, manage projects and tasks, and share and store files more efficiently. Not all online collaboration tools have the same set of capabilities, specific tools may specialize in one of the three areas above. Common use cases for collaboration software include:

  • Online meetings
  • Team messaging
  • Project & task management
  • File storage
  • Collaborative content creation

What are some free online collaboration tools?

Many collaboration software products have a free version available, though typically with more limited space or functionality. Popular free tools for small teams or SMBs include:


How much does collaboration software cost?

Along with free versions of the software, many collaboration tools range from $5 - $40 per user per month. Enterprise tier plans may cost more, depending on how many user licenses your business needs. Collaboration tools that provide cloud storage space may also increase based on the amount of space required.