Collaboration Tools

Top Rated Collaboration Products

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

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 313) Sorted by Most Reviews

Notion

Notion aims to present users with an all-in-one workspace — for notes, tasks, wikis, and databases, from Notion Labs in San Francisco.

OpenText Hightail

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…

Vidyo

From Enghouse Systems, Vidyo is a web conferencing platform that features video calling and instant chat capabilities. The platform integrates with most environments, networks, and devices.

MediaFire

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…

Screenhero (Discontinued)

Screenhero was a remote collaboration platform with features like multiple mouse cursors, voice chat, and high definition screen resolution. It was to be built into the Slack platform to become a feature of that product, though ultimately Slack abandoned the project.

Communifire by Axero Solutions

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,…

Discord

Discord is an app designed to connect users with communities over voice, video, and text chat, via Discord servers, a gaming and game industry oriented app for growing communities around video games and allowing developers to communicate with their customer base; the app may yet…

Zimbra

Zimbra offers social collaboration software.

Micro Focus Vibe

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…

VMware Socialcast (discontinued)

Socialcast was an enterprise social networking and collaboration platform by VMware. The VMware Socialcast platform allowed an organization's employees to share information and documents with co-workers in real time through a Facebook- or Twitter-like news feed. VMware announced…

Verint Community (Telligent)

Verint Connect (based on Telligent Community) is a community and collaboration software platform developed by Telligent Systems and was first released in 2004. Telligent's focus was on offering a platform that can be integrated and extended, but this requires technical expertise.…

Kanban Tool

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.

Igloo

Igloo Software is a social business software company that builds digital workplaces and intranet solutions to support online communities and businesses of any size. It is a suite of content management, collaboration and knowledge sharing tools within one secure social networking…

Flock

Flock is a collaborative business messaging application developed by the small (but multinational) company of the same name, designed to compete with Slack. The company boasts that the app is a fast and reliable means of communication, and is available in a free edition.

Opal

Opal is a marketing collaboration platform that, according to the vendor tears down silos and enables teams with a dedicated environment to strategically plan, create, visualize, align and deploy campaigns across all marketing channels. The vendor’s value proposition is that Opal…

HeyOrca

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…

IBM B2B Cloud Services

IBM B2B Cloud Services provide capabilities for streamlining on-boarding of trading partners. It also allows shared business process to be handled more effectively due to better visibility and control.

Abstract

Abstract, from the company of the same name headquartered in San Francisco, offers a collaboration tool for developers and others, featuring a version controlled master file set and approval workflow.

Avaza

Avaza is a software suite targeted for all business sizes. It includes modules for project management and collaboration, resource scheduling, team chat, time tracking, expense management, quoting and invoicing. Depending on their business needs, companies can use as many, or as few,…

Sococo

Sococo is a remote collaboration tool with integrations with third-party applications such as Google Docs, Atlassian JIRA, and Box.

Frame.io

Frame.io in New York offers a video collaboration platform, supporting the video editing process by providing creative teams with time stamped comments, annotations and hashtags, and an accelerated sharing and approval process, as well as integrations with popularly used editing…

Mikogo

Mikogo is a free screen sharing solution with built-in VoIP for online meetings, web presentations, web conferencing and sales demos.

Samepage

Samepage is a collaboration solution focused on file management and communication. Its extensive list of third-party integrations include part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite, Google Maps and Drive, and Microsoft Office.

ContactOffice

ContactOffice is a private label cloud collaboration suite including messaging, collaboration and mobility technologies. It is a suite of web applications (Mail, Docs, Calendar, Contacts) that are accessible anytime, anywhere and from any device.

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.