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

Citrix Podio
100 ratings
39 reviews
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.
Jive
93 ratings
39 reviews
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. T…
ClickUp
57 ratings
34 reviews
ClickUp aims to be a simple and intuitive platform for managing every project imaginable. ClickUp's core purpose is to remove the frustrations, inefficiencies, and disconnect caused by the current project management ecosystem. ClickUp is built for teams of all sizes and industries, and offers full…
Egnyte
55 ratings
30 reviews
Egnyte provides a cloud computing infrastructure product for online file storage, file sharing and computer backup for small, medium, and large business enterprises.
WorkflowMax
60 ratings
25 reviews
WorkflowMax is a web-based project management solution.The platform offers end-to-end functionality standard to project management software, including time tracking, lead management, collaboration with external stakeholders, invoicing, integrations, and customizable reporting.
Highfive
40 ratings
25 reviews
Highfive is an integrated hardware and cloud-based software product for room-based video conferencing, wireless projection, and web conferencing. Highfive does not require any downloads, PIN codes, or passwords to use and features unlimited meetings and minutes.
Quip
42 ratings
23 reviews
Quip offers a suite of productivity/collaboration tools. The vendor says Quip combines documents, spreadsheets, checklists and chat into one interface.
Polycom RealPresence Group Series
41 ratings
23 reviews
The Polycom RealPresence Group Series is a video conferencing codec that connects to a standards-based video conferencing infrastructure to allow users to make video conference calls. There are three products in the series – RealPresence Group 300, RealPresence Group 500, and RealPresence Group 700.…
HCL Connections (formerly from IBM)
48 ratings
19 reviews
Connections from HCL Technologies (formerly from IBM, acquired by HCL in 2018) is a collaboration tool with key features like social analytics, blogs, document management, and a social network.
eXo Platform
21 ratings
17 reviews
eXo Platform is an open-source, social-collaboration software designed for enterprises. Some key features include: Enterprise Social Network, Enterprise Content Management and Social Collaboration.
Zeplin
27 ratings
15 reviews
Top Rated
Zeplin, from the company of the same name, is a platform supporting collaboration in application development by engineers and designers by providing an API with popular collaboration, development and prototyping tools and creating a space where productions can be shared and reviewed.
Workzone
28 ratings
14 reviews
Workzone is a web-based tool for project management and collaboration from Workzone in Norristown, PA, that contains a full array of the features needed for project management. It's hub is the project dashboard, which provides a platform for team communication and tracking tasks over time as they pr…
HCL Notes (formerly from IBM)
74 ratings
14 reviews
Notes from HCL (formerly from IBM, acquired by HCL in late 2018) is a collaboration platform based on the Lotus platform.
Amazon Chime
27 ratings
14 reviews
Amazon Chime is a communications service from Amazon Web Services with a built-in VoIP solution. Amazon Chime can be used for online meetings, video conferencing, and business calling, and features pay-as-you-go pricing.
Glip
28 ratings
13 reviews
Glip is a conversation platform to plan, share and organize work. Glip is built with text and video chat at its core and includes file sharing, collaborative task management, shared calendars, automatic version control, all integrated into each conversation stream. Glip is the only business messagin…
Bitrix24
37 ratings
13 reviews
Bitrix24 is a local-hosted or cloud-based social intranet and project management platform that also contains core HR (HRMS) and CRM features. Bitrix24 also provides time management services and employee self-service.
MindMeister
33 ratings
12 reviews
MindMeister is an online mind mapping tool that lets users share maps with an unlimited number of users and collaborate with them in real-time. The vendor says more than 11 million people around the world use MindMeister to brainstorm ideas, plan projects, take meeting minutes, develop business stra…
Bloomfire
21 ratings
12 reviews
Bloomfire is a sales enablement tool that is designed to put answers, best practices and marketing materials at a sales team’s fingertips. This solution enables users to post and share content in a number of formats from any cloud-based drive such as Google Drive or Dropbox. The vendor’s value pro…
LiquidPlanner
19 ratings
11 reviews
LiquidPlanner is a cloud based predictive project management solution. Some key features include: Dynamic Timeline View, Workload View, and Real-Time Activity Stream.
Blizz by TeamViewer
17 ratings
10 reviews
Blizz is a web conferencing software designed for global collaboration. It aides users in connecting with contacts and remote teams through video meetings, instant chat messaging, screen sharing, and conference recording on desktop and mobile from any location.
ClickMeeting
16 ratings
10 reviews
ClickMeeting is a webinar solution formerly owned by GetResponse, an email marketing software company. ClickMeeting's online meeting and collaboration tools are designed to support the sales, marketing, e-learning, and training needs of business of all sizes.
Google Keep
22 ratings
9 reviews
Google Keep is a note-taking app launched by Google in 2013 and available free, providing a tool to capture text, images, video, etc.
Front
17 ratings
9 reviews
Front is a social collaboration platform designed around a collaborative, shared inbox. It has third-party integrations with Slack and Twitter along with workflow automation capability.
Mattermost
11 ratings
9 reviews
Mattermost from the company of the same name in Palo Alto is a messaging, collaboration and communication platform providing high security and compliance for the businesses that need it.
MediaFire
23 ratings
8 reviews
MediaFire is a simple file sharing and storage platform. It allows users to store, share, and view media files within the MediaFire online, desktop, or mobile app interface. The vendor says MediaFire's file storage system is private and secure. In terms of collaboration, users can invite friends t…

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.