Best Collaboration Tools
- Top Rated Collaboration Tools include: Slack, Google Drive, 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.
FoxyTasks is a web-based marketing project management solution. Some key features include: Project Planning, Budget Management, Clients Collaboration and Real-Time Document Collaboration.
elium is a knowledge sharing and collaboration tool.
Concord is a free cloud-based contract lifecycle management platform for creating, signing, and managing contracts. The platform provides unlimited e-signatures and unlimited contracts for an unlimited number of users. Concord’s interface includes collaboration tools to streamline contract...
Nutcache is a free, online invoicing and time management application targeted at freelancers and small businesses. Nutcache allows users to bill their clients, manage their expenses and keep track of their hours on each project. Through reporting, users can stay up-to-date on their business’...
iMeet Central by PGi (formerly the application was known as "Central Desktop") is a collaboration and project management solution. Key features include file-sharing and collaboration with internal and external team members, project and task management, workflows and databases for process...
4th Office is collaboration software with built-in chat capability, an intelligent personal assistant, and a card-based user interface.
BusinessHub is a collaboration tool currently in private beta; it will be available to the public in fall 2015.
Conceptboard is a collaboration software built for teams of any size. Its primary features are project management, team whiteboards, integration into business workflows, and real-time collaboration.
Ekoapp is a collaboration tool built primarily around mobile communication at the enterprise level.
Grove is a collaboration platform built around an internet relay chat (IRC) server. The key features include workflow automation, private messaging, and third-party integrations with tools like GitHub and Heroku.
Red e App is a collaboration tool focused on employee communication through mobile devices. Red e App includes additional functionalities such as document management and data-driven analytics.
Sitrion Social Intranet is a unified social workplace for Microsoft SharePoint.
TrackMemo is a collaboration tool focused on providing a streamlined activity feed to notify users of anything relevant, from changes to a Google Doc to just messaging.
LotusLive Engage is IBM's video conferencing and survey building platform with a dynamic dashboard and project management capabilities.
Biba is a communications platform that implements features such as online meetings, video conferencing, and business chat.
Grouputer is a collaboration and meeting management platform for both face-to-face and web meetings.
SwiftKanban is a web-based electronic enterprise/portfolio Kanban and visual management app for both co-located and distributed teams and enterprises. SwiftKanban combines Scrum, Kanban, and visual management into a tool for Lean/Agile software development, visual project management, and business...
Just is a collaboration tool built around an interactive activity stream, content, document and event management, and automated workflows.
Nomadesk is a business file sharing and synchronization platform. It allows employees at enterprises to access secure data remotely, while complying with corporate IT requirements. Nomadesk file security features are a main differentiator from free cloud storage solutions. Security features...
Swiss company TallyFox Social Technologies offers the TallyFox Tallium enterprise knowledge management, collaboration, and content management platform in the Tallium Communnity and Tallium Network editions, for sharing expert knowledge across disparate groups in an easily searched and reliable...
Earliz is online project management and monitoring software. Video tutorials are included with this solution. Users have the option to choose English, French, Spanish or Italian as the language of their interface. Documents can be shared and team members can communicate via blogs, forums, chats or...
Output Messenger is a leading secure and private instant messaging solution designed for all businesses. This solution provides real time chat on the user’s desktop and mobile through single user credentials. The solution also allows users to securely share ideas.
Hubgets is a collaboration tool that enables customers to connect with their teams and customers via voice, video and chat.
Codesk provides online workspace and teamwork tools for small enterprises. Some key features include: Social Feeds, Discussions, and Task Lists.