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Collaboration Tools

Best Collaboration Tools

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:

  • 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. For everything else, it integrates with other software tools.

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 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

Many online collaboration tools have basic project and task management capabilities. They are not usually as advanced as traditional project management platforms. Collaboration tools noted for significant project & task management features include:

Others walk the line of collaboration and project management. For example, Wrike features project management tools, but it’s designed like a social network to make engaging with team members easy.

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:

  • 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

Some tools focus on file sharing and management. These 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?

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

Listings (51-75 of 237)

8 Ratings

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.

7 Ratings

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.

10 Ratings

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 t...

6 Ratings

GanttPRO is a project planning tool based on a Gantt chart approach. It visualizes all tasks along a timeline so managers and teams are able to have a full and easy-to-understand picture of projects. In GanttPRO, users can:- Create tasks with their start/end dates;- Assign tasks, track their pro...

7 Ratings

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, ...

7 Ratings

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 spreadshee...

6 Ratings

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.

3 Ratings

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.

8 Ratings

FreeConferenceCall.com is a free audio conferencing solution with features such as audio and video conferencing, screen-sharing, call recording, transcribed keywords, one-click web controls, transcribed keywords, instant messaging, and integrations with Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.

7 Ratings

Avaza is a software suite targeted for all business sizes. It includes modules for project management and collaboration, resource scheduling, 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 n...

6 Ratings

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...

5 Ratings

Stride from Atlassian is a new kind of messaging that aims to: turns conversations into action with integrated collaboration toolsbrings all the right people together instantly with built-in voice and video conferencinggives you the space to focus so you can get to done, faster

5 Ratings

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.

4 Ratings

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.

10 Ratings

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.