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.
Facebook at Work allows users to interact with co-workers through the Facebook interface.
PureCloud is the version of the Genesys Customer Experience Platform designed for small businesses.
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.
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...
XaitPorter is a cloud-based solution that is designed to help users create high quality documents. It enables multiple users to work on the same document, in real-time, whether in the office, at home, or on the other side of the world. The vendor’s value proposition is that with their solution,...
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...
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...
Bitrix24 is a local-hosted or cloud-based social intranet and project management platform from the the company of the same name, that also contains core HR (HRMS) and CRM features as well.
LiquidPlanner is a cloud based predictive project management solution. Some key features include: Dynamic Timeline View, Workload View, and Real-Time Activity Stream.
Quip offers a suite of productivity/collaboration tools. The vendor says Quip combines documents, spreadsheets, checklists and chat into one interface.
Axero's Communifire is an Enterprise Social and Collaboration platform. Used internally, it connects employees, key customers and partners to pursue shared goals. Used to build an online community, it puts the emphasis on working together, not just meeting socially. The platform, designed to...
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...
Screenhero is a remote collaboration platform with features like multiple mouse cursors, voice chat, and high definition screen resolution.
Micro Focus Vibe is a web-based team collaboration platform developed by Novell, and was initially released by Novell in June 2008 under the name of Novell Teaming. Novell's acquisition by Micro Focus was completed in April 2015. Vibe is a versatile collaboration solution that can serve as a...
MindMeister is a collaboration tool created by MeisterLabs. It is designed to combine traditional mind mapping capabilities of a brainstorming tool like MindManager with the shareability of a tool like GoogleDocs. MindMeister allows for real-time collaboration within the online platform, meaning...
Socialcast is an enterprise social networking and collaboration platform by VMware. The VMware Socialcast platform allows an organization's employees to share information and documents with co-workers in real time through a Facebook- or Twitter-like news feed. It is designed to integrate with...
Oracle Content Marketing (part of the Oracle Marketing Cloud, and formerly known as Compendium) is a content marketing solution that is designed to make it easy to create and distribute compelling content across multiple channels to a targeted audience. This solution enables users to plan, produce,...
Vidyo allows you to embed real-time video into digital communications. According to the vendor, millions of people around the world connect visually every day through Vidyo’s secure, scalable technology and cloud-based services. The platform integrates with virtually any application environment,...
ClickMeeting brings the power of webinars to organizations of any size, from one-person firms to multinational enterprises. The vendor says their web-based solution is easy to use and covers the entire webinar process — from preparation to presentation, and from interaction to follow-up.Because the...
ProofHub is a SaaS based project management software from ProofHub LLC in Walnut, CA. It is an online project management and collaboration tool that comes with integrated Group chat, quick Discussions on projects, Workflows and boards, Project reports, among other features. Document (e.g. Excel,...
HeyOrca is a solution that allows an agency’s clients to review and approve upcoming social media content. The vendor aims to help agencies save time by moving away from using spreadsheets and docs to communicate and obtain approvals from their clients. With this solution, no logins or spreadsheets...
Kanban Tool is a visual project management application based on Kanban that helps companies visualize workflow, track project progress, analyze and improve business processes. Some key features include: time tracking and time reports, real-time collaboration and Kaban analytics.
Splashtop Business Access is a remote desktop solution designed for business professionals and teams. The vendor’s value proposition is that this solution provides HD quality, sound, and fast connections. With this solution, users can remotely access their Windows and Mac computers from...