Best Collaboration Tools
- Top Rated Collaboration Tools include: Google Drive, Slack, Trello, Dropbox Business, Asana, Jabber, Evernote, Confluence, and Basecamp.
- Other Collaboration Tools on the TrustMap include: Skype for Business, Workplace, Podio, MS SharePoint, Jive, HipChat, and Microsoft Yammer.
- A complete list of Collaboration Tools is available here.
TrustMaps are two-dimensional charts that compare products based on satisfaction ratings and research frequency by prospective buyers. Products must have 50 or more ratings to appear on this TrustMap, and those above the median line are considered Top Rated.
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.
Mural.ly is a collaboration tool designed for creative teams to make the process of remote design more efficient.
O3Spaces is a optional cloud-based or local-hosted document creation and collaboration service. O3Spaces is written in Java, and based on the Tomcat server with a PostgreSQL backend (other databases are also supported).
Drinkle is a project management solution that helps businesses organize projects, manage teams, and assign tasks. Some key features include: Task Management, Leads Management, and Team Activities.
Datapolis Process System is a process management platform for Microsoft SharePoint 2013. Some key features include: Graphic Workflow Designer, Automated Activities Designer, and Workflow History.
Casual is a visual project management tool. Teams can use Casual to plan and execute the workflows of their projects.
Our suite of agenda design, crowdsourcing, crowd computing, and group dynamics management tools improves outcomes for workgroups, projects, strategic initiatives, and organizational processes. ThinkTank's uniquely structured, patented collaboration software suite enables people to accelerate and ...
Pyrus is a collaboration platform that supports workplace exchanges, transparently manages responsibility for every unit of work, and streamlines workflows. The Pyrus platform is available as a web service as well as a native app for iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone. This platform support...
Traction TeamPage started life as a blog and wiki platform. The product is relatively simple with a strong UI.
Boardwalk Communicator lets business teams share spreadsheet data and consolidates changes without emailing attachments or dealing with the check-in/check-out complexities of intranets or the upload/download processes of file servers and file sharing services. The user interface, including integr...
Convo is a collaboration tool built around a social network with integrations into third-applications like Google Drive, Twitter, and Dropbox.
Muut is an embedded community platform providing both embedded comments (e.g. blog comments, reviews on product pages etc.) and a full blown forum system that is embeddable onto a website on any platform.
Slenke is a virtual workspace that allows users to manage their company from anywhere. Through intuitive and easy to use features it allows businesses to manage project portfolios, individual projects, tasks, internal communication, time tracking, invoicing and file sharing.
UK company Glasscubes offers their eponymous collaboration platform, featuring document management, file sharing and synchronization, and other project management tools.
GoVisually is a collaboration tool that aims to allow graphic designers to quickly get feedback from their peers. It allows collaborators to leave annotations and comments. It also has some features for managing projects and revisions.
Attensa Streamserver is a cloud-based knowledge management collaboration software from Attensa Software.
Campfire is really a group chat / team collaboration platform. It allows users to create a shared space where members can collaborate by group texting.
Teem (formerly EventBoard) is cloud-based software for organizing and optimizing internal events and meetings. Teem allows employees to meet and book conference rooms, to efficiently manage workspaces and meeting resources, and to measure and analyze their company’s meeting and collaboration beha...
Sideways 6 is an employee ideas platform that connects to Yammer to source, analyse and manage ideas without requiring employees to learn new software. The vendor takes this approach because they've found that it can be difficult to get employees to take up 'yet another app'. According to the ven...
ConceptShare focuses exclusively on the review and approval process for creative teams in large companies. The vendor says that by integrating online proofing with workflow automation, ConceptShare helps shorten the review cycle so that users need fewer iterations, save time, and deliver better o...
Kore is an online collaboration tool. It is built to be scalable, and to allow communications between a company's internal teams, partners, and/or customers. Kore includes chat, discussion rooms, drag and drop file sharing, email integration, and alerts, as well as social media-style #tags and @m...
Zello for Work is designed to turn any smartphone into a user-friendly push-to-talk (PTT) device on any network. This can be done with the user’s existing smartphones or ruggedized devices. Zello users can speak in groups or to direct contacts, decreasing nonessential noise in the work environme...
Workgroups DaVinici is a project management software solution dedicated to automating and providing transparency to the entire creative production process for creative and marketing teams. According to the vendor, it combines multi-tiered project management, workflow scheduling & automation, ...
Mithi SkyConnect is a cloud based collaboration suite offering Cloud Email, Instant Messaging, Calendar, Document Collaboration and more. According to the vendor, the product offers near-zero server downtime and reliable multi-layered security. The collaboration apps are accessible from the w...
DynaDo is a project management and collaboration solution. It includes tools such as Email, Project Management, Customer Support, File Storage, Discussion Forums, Calendar, Chat, and CRM.
iManage Share (formerly HP Linksite) is a document sharing and collaboration tool from iManage, a company divested from Hewlett-Packard in 2015.