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: Skype for Business, Confluence, 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.
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.
From webcasts to virtual extensions of events, INXPO digital interactive broadcasting solutions help companies communicate with their customers, employees, partners, and prospects.
Avaya Communicator is a communications platform from Santa Clara-based Avaya that allows chat or IM, voice, and web conferencing to be deployed from within business applications. It replaces the Avaya Flare Experience product.
MangoApps offers digital workplace solutions that combine intranet, collaboration, messaging, learning & 50+ built-in integrations for your business. MangoApps serves organizations with 50-50,000 employees in a broad range of industries from retail, healthcare, manufacturing, not-for-profit,...
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, WorkBook is a worldwide leading project management solution. Designed for advertising and communications agencies with 30+ employees, the vendor says WorkBook is the perfect solution for multiple locations and collaboration through integrated conversations. Additionally...
GroupTweet allows any number of contributors to Tweet from a single Twitter account without the need to share the organization's Twitter password. GroupTweet allows authorized contributors to Tweet directly from their own personal Twitter accounts (if desired) using any Twitter app each prefers....
Hightail addresses the problems of creative collaboration and visual project management between teams of creative professionals and their clients and other stakeholders. According to the vendor, Hightail (formerly known as YouSendIt) began as a simple way to send files that were too large for email...
Bolste™ is a complete business operating system, designed to simplify work-life and help businesses grow by streamlining communication and collaboration. The system brings together separate applications – email, chat, tasks, file-sharing, calendars, and more – into a single, simple...
Liferay Digital Experience Platform is an enterprise-grade platform that enables companies to create and connect personalized digital experiences across web, mobile, social, in store and other touchpoints. It provides the technical foundation (deep integration, security and modularity) for a...
Cisco's WebEx Social is an enterprise social networking platform with features like content management and real-time communication, allowing for collaboration across departments.
OnSolve is a collaboration software company created from the merge of MIR3, ECN, and Send Word Now. Their product suite contain alerting tools and other cloud-based collaboration and communication applications.
Oracle Beehive Enterprise Collaboration Server provides hosted collaboration and voice / web conferencing tools at the enterprise level.
Alma Suite is a private social network for companies, that includes a task management tool, a private wikipedia for knowledge management, an idea manager, a game for training, professional profiles, discussion groups, news, instant messages, and postings. The vendor’s value proposition is that they...
Tettra helps teams that use Slack organize and share important knowledge in one central, searchable, manageable place.
Workshare’s platform is designed to empower professionals to compare, protect and share their high stakes documents on any device. Content owners can accurately track and compare amendments made by all contributors. While businesses have secure ways to work collaboratively and control the process...
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.
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 tools (e.g. Final...
Priority Matrix is a prioritization, collaborative, task management software used by more than 2500 businesses worldwide and 85,000 paid customers. Priority Matrix is used by customers who need visibility and alignment in team priorities. Priority Matrix uses the 4-quadrants to help customers...
Mural.ly is a collaboration tool designed for creative teams to make the process of remote design more efficient.
O3Spaces is a optional cloud-based or local-hosted document creation and collaboration service. O3Spaces is written in Java, and based on the Tomcat server with a PostgreSQL backend (other databases are also supported).
Drinkle is a project management solution that helps businesses organize projects, manage teams, and assign tasks. Some key features include: Task Management, Leads Management, and Team Activities.