Facebook at Work allows users to interact with co-workers through the Facebook interface.
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 (26-50 of 249)
GanttPRO is a project planning tool based on a Gantt chart approach. It visualizes all tasks along a timeline, and it supports resource management, collaboration within teams, and importing and exporting projects onto 3rd party programs.
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 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.
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.
Quip offers a suite of productivity/collaboration tools. The vendor says Quip combines documents, spreadsheets, checklists and chat into one interface.
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 7...
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...
Notes from HCL (formerly from IBM, acquired by HCL in late 2018) is a collaboration platform based on the Lotus platform.
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.
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.
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, u...
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 f...
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 ...
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 s...
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 messa...
LiquidPlanner is a cloud based predictive project management solution. Some key features include: Dynamic Timeline View, Workload View, and Real-Time Activity Stream.
Dialpad is a cloud communications platform that provides users with integrated voice, video, and messaging capabilities from one unified interface. It integrates with the vendor's web conferencing product, UberConference, as well as with G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Okta, ...
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.
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 friend...
OpenText Hightail is a cloud-based collaboration software for creative content reviews and approvals. With one place for teams to share large, multimedia files, collect precise feedback and approve content, Hightail streamlines the creative process and helps teams keep projects on schedule.
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 enc...
Screenhero was a remote collaboration platform with features like multiple mouse cursors, voice chat, and high definition screen resolution. It is now built into the Slack platform and a feature of that product.
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 kno...