Airtable is a collaboration platform designed to empower 30,000+ companies for content pipelines, product management, events planning, user research, and more. The vendor’s value proposition is with the friendly interface, customizable grid, calendar, form, and stacked card views, and a fully fle...
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:
- Project & task management
- File sharing & management
Collaboration tools are closely related to a number of other types of software, including:
- Business communications (e.g. email, phone, web conferencing)
- Community platforms
- Cloud storage
- Project management software
- Online office suites (such as G Suite and Microsoft Office 365)
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
CommunicationSome 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
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:
Tracking location and changes to a file
Task lists and assignments. These are complete with due dates, sub-tasks and file attachment
Scheduling, calendar integration, reminders and alerts
File Sharing & Management
Support for different file types
Comments and notes attached to files
Track changes and versioning
Editing permissions and access control
Online Collaboration Tools
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
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?
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.
Listings (1-25 of 243)
For more than a decade, Lifesize has been a leader in video collaboration, delivering high-quality solutions designed to bring people together. The vendor’s value proposition is that they combine a best-in-class, cloud-based video conferencing experience, with award-winning, easy-to-use devices t...
HipChat helps teams work better together by making it easier to share ideas, updates, codes, and files in real-time. Users can communicate via chat, audio, or video calls in private 1-1 conversations or team chat rooms.The vendor says HipChat brings the tools that run a business into one seamless...
Microsoft SharePoint is usually considered an internal content management product, but it also features web content management capabilities for managing external website content. SharePoint is a very broadly adopted solution and competes successfully with Oracle, EMC Documentum and OpenText in t...
Wrike is an all-in-one project management and collaboration software. This solution connects tasks, discussions, and emails to the user’s project plan. The vendor’s value proposition is that their solution enables users to get an up-to-date picture of projects and keep their team aligned with the...
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...
Projectplace is the collaborative work management solution from Planview that brings teams together to get work done. Whether a team is down the hall or on the other side of the globe, Projectplace aims to provide everything needed to set direction, communicate, execute tasks, track progress, and...
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 is a web-based project-management tool developed by 37signals and launched in 2004. The Ruby on Rails framework was extracted from the Basecamp project. Basecamp offers to-do lists, wiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging s...
Trello is a free collaboration / task management tool that allows users to organize things into cards and boards. It provides a flexible and visual way of organizing projects. The vendor also offers a paid version for businesses with extra features. Pricing is $3.75 per user per month, billed ann...
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 meetings, dialing into conference calls, and the ability to make, receive and transfer calls via a computer or mobile device.
Asana is a web and mobile project management app that according to the vendor, goes beyond typical PM software by enabling teams to track everything they're working on. With tasks, projects, conversations, and dashboards, Asana lets an entire team know who's doing what by when in order to help co...
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...
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.
Fuze Voice 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.
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...
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.
Customer relationships can be complex, but that doesn’t mean they have to be difficult. The Genesys PureCloud solution promises to make customer relationships simple. Built to handle any channel, the PureCloud platform follows the conversation across communication channels—turning calls, email, c...
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...
Jive Software, part of the Aurea family of customer experience solutions, provides the gateway to an organization's most important assets – its knowledge and people. Jive's interactive intranet solution promises to connect people, information and ideas to help businesses outpace their competitors...
Teamwork Projects, from Irish company Teamworks.com, is a project management solution.
Podio is a freemium cloud-based collaboration service that was founded in 2009 and acquired by Citrix in 2012. Podio supplies a web-based platform for organizing team communication, business processes, data and content in project management workspaces. Users can also select business apps from an ...
Egnyte provides a cloud computing infrastructure product for online file storage, file sharing and computer backup for small, medium, and large business enterprises.
Facebook at Work allows users to interact with co-workers through the Facebook interface.
GanttPRO is a project planning tool based on a Gantt chart approach. It visualizes all tasks along a timeline so managers and teams are able to have a full and easy-to-understand picture of projects. In GanttPRO, users can:- Create tasks with their start/end dates;- Assign tasks, track their pro...