Best Collaboration Tools
- Top Rated Collaboration Tools include: Slack, Google Drive, Trello, Dropbox Business, Asana, Jabber, Evernote, and Basecamp.
- Other Collaboration Tools on the TrustMap include: Confluence, Skype for Business, Workplace, Podio, Jive, MS SharePoint, 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.
FreeConferenceCall.com is a high-definition audio conferencing solution with features such as customizable greetings and hold music, one-click web controls, transcribed keywords, and integrations with Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.
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.
Igloo Software is a social business software company that builds online communities for businesses of any size. It is a suite of content management, collaboration and knowledge sharing tools within one secure social networking platform. Online communities drive groups, teams and organizations to...
Small World Labs Community is a hosted collaboration and social networking platform with easy drag & drop modification capabilities. Small World Labs offers implementation and community engagement services, plus an open API for integration with other systems. Small World Labs has clients...
Mitel MiCollab is a collaboration and conferencing tool for enterprises, from Canadian company Mitel.
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.
Ginger is a group discussion app for facilitating team communication and productivity. Some key features include: Threaded Discussions, File Sharing and Voting.
Flowdock is a collaboration tool built around a chat and team inbox interface. Flowdock is available via app or as a browser-based solution. It was originally offered by Rally Software Development, which was acquired by CA Technologies.
As it's name implies, Social Text focuses heavily on social capabilities and includes Twitter-like microblogging capabilities. The product competes with MindTouch,Confluence, Jive Team Collaboration and other collaboration platforms.
TigerText is a collaboration tool focused on providing users with secure communication to colleagues from any device.
Avaza is a software suite targeted for small businesses. It includes modules for project management and collaboration, time tracking, expense management, quoting and invoicing. Depending on their business needs, companies can use as many, or as few, of the modules as they need.According to the...
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.
Amazon Chime is an online meeting and video conferencing tool from Amazon Web Services.
Telligent Community is a community and collaboration software platform developed by Telligent Systems and was first released in 2004. Telligent's focus is on offering a platform that can be integrated and extended, but this requires technical expertise.
Output Time is a collaboration tool that bundles Project management, Time tracking, Invoicing, Team Collaboration and Expenses Management etc. It is available as Online and Self-Hosted Project Management versions.
SocialPort is a social communication management system that allows organizations share content on social platforms, enabling them to grow relationships and exhibit thought leadership in their industry. rFactr also provides social content training that prepares each individual in a business to...
Project Insight is a web-based project and portfolio management software. Project teams can access, edit and update their projects information anytime, anywhere, with any supported browser, tablet and mobile device. Features for experienced project managers include: MS Project import/export,...
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.
inMotion is a work management solution designed for enterprise creative and marketing teams. The vendor says that unlike other solutions, inMotion combines creative brief management, project management, online proofing, and reporting into a single solution that is designed to help users get their...
ClickWebinar, from GetReponse, allows users to run video conferences and webinars for up to 1000 participants. Features include audio & video, statistics for analyzing the success of webinars, and desktop screen sharing. They also offer mobile apps to schedule meetings, send invitations, and...
Comidor provides the following capabilities: Task Management, Contact and Account Management, Embedded Email Client, Document Management, Social Media Unit, Workflows, CRM, Project Management, Finance, and Event, Issues and Topics Management
XWiki Collaboration Suite (XCS) is a software solution that is built on top of the XWiki Enterprise Open Source project. According to the vendor, XCS tackles 2 main use cases: Information & Knowledge Management Collaborative Work It is available on premise or as SaaS and is packaged with XWiki...
Innovation Cloud is a free web-based tool for idea management. It enables users to submit, codevelop and execute ideas.