15 Best Collaboration Software Comparison (2020)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020
Michael Zunenshine
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Introduction

Now more than ever, collaboration software is key to business success. Why? Because of the rise of remote working. Whether due to current events or simply following modern trends, many companies are having their employees work from home. Online collaboration tools like project management and team communication software are must-haves in this modern work world.

When you are searching for the best online collaboration software, there are several factors to consider. What is more important to you? Is it collaboration or communication? Or do you want a unified business platform that does it all? Of course, you must take into account the size of your team. Budget is also an important consideration. 

In this comparison of the best collaboration software, we’ll drill into the most important questions. We’ll discuss which collaboration tools are best suited to which industries and company sizes. Then, we’ll break down one by one the best features of each platform. Some of these names you might know. Others will be new to your ears. 

Get ready for a deep dive into 15 of the best online collaboration solutions. 

 

 

Collaboration software comparison chart (top 15)

Product

Best for

Pricing

(per user/month)

Website

Slack

Overall

$6.67

Visit Slack

Trello

Project management

$9.99

Visit Trello

Microsoft Teams

Large businesses

$5.00

(w/ Microsoft 365)

Visit Microsoft teams

Flock

Team collaboration

$4.50

Visit Flock

Asana

Small teams

$10.99

Visit Asana

ProofHub

Remote work

$45.00

(unlimited users)

Visit Proofhub

Sharepoint

Document management

$5.00

Visit Sharepoint

Podio

File sharing

$7.20

Visit Podio

Wrike

Free project management

$9.80

Visit Wrike

Confluence

Knowledge sharing

$5.00

Visit Confluence

 

What is collaboration software?

This might seem like an obvious question. It is worth unpacking the concept of collaboration software in a bit more detail.

Collaboration software helps teams work together. That’s plain and simple. It does this in several ways. 

Firstly, it streamlines productivity. It does this by offering task management and project management tools. Everyone on a team can contribute to the progress of a project and see what tasks everyone else is doing. Even before a project begins, project management software can help teams collaborate in planning roadmaps and setting goals.

Secondly it is all about communication. For remote teams who need to collaborate regularly, your Gmail or Outlook are not enough. Online communication platforms combine group chatting, direct messaging, phone calling and video conferencing. 

Thirdly, when you work as a team you need t6o share as a team. Collaboration tools include file sharing and document management. This is essential for team members to have access to the same content wherever and wherever they need it. This can also include shared knowledge resources or even workflows.

These three broad categories come with a number of collaboration features each. Let’s dig a bit deeper into this.

What are the different types of collaboration software? 

Here our list of the different types of collaboration tools and apps you can find:

Communication tools

This set of features is mostly used by teams who need to constantly stay in touch. It can help with daily standups or more in-depth meetings. Communication platforms make it easy to access old messages and conversations. It’s also useful when used with CRMs to have engagement histories with customers.

  • Group chats

  • Direct messaging

  • Channels

  • Phone calls

  • Video conferencing

  • Screen sharing

  • Call recording

Project collaboration tools

Project management is less about constant communication and more about keeping track of progress. Teams can still communicate through these platforms but usually as comments and notes. These are great tools for planning projects, getting through tasks, and staying on deadlines.

  • Task management

  • To-do lists

  • Kanban boards

  • Gantt charts

  • Time tracking

  • Shared calendars

  • Workflow automation

  • Whiteboarding

  • Reports

Document management tools

Looking for attachments within emails can waste a lot of time. Document management tools are a much better way for companies to keep track of files, images, and other media. When it comes to collaborating, file sharing across devices is very important. Document management platforms also let team members collaborate on files. What’s more, great platforms save all past versions of documents and sync new versions in real-time.

  • File sharing

  • Tags and labels

  • Notes

  • Versioning

  • Document synchronization

  • Search and filters

  • Cloud storage

  • Knowledge base

What is the best collaboration software? Here’s our top 15 list:

Now that you’ve got a better handle on communication, project management and document management platforms, it’s time to look at some of the best collaboration software on the market.

This list of 15 is the result of our personal trial research as well as an aggregate of real user reviews.

 

Slack (best collaboration software overall)

Searching for online collaboration tools, you’ve surely come across Slack. Slack is one of the most popular project management tools. 

It’s a communication tool based around the chatroom. You can organize chats by team members, or topic. Slack lets you share files and has other file storage tools.  You can send direct instant messages and create private chat groups. There is also voice calling and video calling with Slack. Finally, you can sync Slack with Microsoft’s file-syncing app OneDrive.

Slack is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Startups 

  • Small businesses

  • Large businesses

  • Team communication

  • Video calls

  • Remote teams

 

Trello (best collaboration software for project management)

When it comes to kanban boards, Trello is a great project collaboration tool. It scores very well for ease of use. The dashboard looks good too.

Trello makes it easy for project managers to outline stages for a project. When a team member moves a task forward, everyone gets updated in real-time. Aside from kanban boards you also get task management tools like to-do lists. Trello helps you create workflow automations.

Trello is best for:

  • Startups

  • SMEs

  • Remote teams

  • Project management

  • File sharing

  • Document management

  • Time tracking

 

Microsoft Teams (best collaboration software for large business)

Microsoft has long proven its usefulness in the business app word. The platform Microsoft Teams is a powerful communication tool and collaboration app.

It's got mobile apps where you chat with your team members or send direct messages. Microsoft Teams has excellent video conferencing. You can have video conferences with up to 10,000 people. Microsoft Teams also streamlines well with Microsoft Office 365. Word, Powerpoint and Excel docs can be edited from any device and updated in real-time.

Microsoft Teams is best for:

  • Large businesses

  • Remote teams

  • File sharing

  • Team collaboration

  • Video conferencing

  • Screen sharing

  • Team communication

 

Flock (best team collaboration software)

Flock is a rising name as an online collaboration and team messenger platform. It has the familiar look and feel of many popular modern business SaaS.

For team communication, Flock has many tools. There is a chat dashboard where you create group channels. You get video conferencing and voice conferencing. There is direct messaging and voice notes. For productivity tools there is file sharing, to-do lists, polls, notes and reminders.

Flock is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Startups

  • Small businesses

  • SMEs

  • Video conferencing

  • File sharing

  • Team communication

 

Asana (best collaboration software for small teams)

Asana is a great tool for small teams and startups. It’s a project management platform with great team communication tools.

Asana works well on its mobile apps. For communication there is an inbox feature. YOu can also add notes to tasks and projects. Asana has several views for project management. These include kanban boards, calendar, lists, and gantt timelines. You also get a progress dashboard with useful data.

Asana is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Startups

  • SMEs

  • Project management

  • Remote teams

 

ProofHub (best collaboration software for remote work)

ProofHub is becoming a winner as more people work remotely. That doesn’t mean it isn’t useful on-premise too.

This is a diverse work management and project planning platform. You get good overviews on to-do lists and tasks, as well as project progress. These can be kanban boards, gantt charts or calendars. There are team communication tools and you can also chat with customers. You can also share files easily. ProofHuyb does good time tracking.

ProofHub is best for:

  • Remote teams

  • Small teams

  • Small businesses

  • Project management

  • Time tracking

  • Reports

  • Team chats

 

Sharepoint (best collaboration software for document management)

Sharepoint also belongs to the Microsoft brand and it integrates with Microsoft Office. It’s fully web-based and has great mobile apps.

This is a strong SaaS for sharing files and storing documents. Sharepoint makes it easy to categorize and search documents. You can co-author files in real time with remote team members. There is content management which pulls insights from your connections. It creates a company intranet which serves to share knowledge and streamline productivity. Sharepoint is a very customizable platform to suit various needs. 

Sharepoint is best for:

  • Medium businesses

  • Large businesses

  • Enterprise

  • File sharing

  • File syncing

  • Document management

  • Streamlining operational efficiency

 

Podio (best collaboration software for file sharing)

Podio is made by Citrix, which makes many business applications. It’s a work management platform with a pretty professional look and feel.

Podio is a good file sharing platform. It integrates with Dropbox and Google Drive. You can create your Podio Apps. These are used for project management and work like kanban boards. Podio also offers robust task management tools. You can assign tasks, add notes and track progress. Finally, there are workflow management features that follow ‘if then this that’ rules. Podio also integrates with OneDrive.

Podio is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Small businesses

  • Large businesses

  • Startups

  • File sharing

  • Pipeline management

  • Reports

 

Wrike (best free collaboration software for project management)

Wrike is a project management and collaboration platform that’s been around a while. Now it is getting more recognition. It’s got a quick learning curve and a free version.

For projects you get kanban boards, calendars, spreadsheets and gantt charts. There are good file sharing tools and task management features. It’s easy to see what’s going on with your team in a real-time activity stream. You can also add notes and use @mentions. The premium versions have solid time tracking and reporting.  

Wrike is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Remote teams

  • Kanban boards

  • File sharing

  • Team management

 

Confluence (best collaboration software for sharing knowledge)

Confluence is a team workspace collaboration platform created by the tech firm Atlassian. This is the same company that makes the issue tracking app Jira.

Confluence focuses on helping teams share knowledge to work more efficiently. It offers a variety of templates to help teams organize projects. These include templates for marketing, support, HR and product development. You can also create and edit documents together with others, using notes and @mentions.

Confluence is best for:

  • Startups

  • Small businesses

  • Medium businesses

  • Large businesses

  • Remote teams

  • Team collaboration tools

  • Knowledge sharing

 

Skype (best collaboration software for video conferencing)

Skype is a well-known name when it comes to Voice over IP (VoIP) technology. That means using the computer to replace telephone services. Now Skype is great for business too.

Skype can be used for both voice calling and video conferencing. It works great on all iOS and Android mobile devices and within Mac and Windows browsers. You can use Skype for direct messaging and also use @mentions. Skype has great screen sharing and call recording tools. Making calls to normal phones is also possible. It also integrates with Zoom.

Skype is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Startups

  • SMBs

  • Large businesses

  • Remote teams

  • Video conferencing

  • Screen sharing

  • Voice conferencing

  • Call recording

  •  

Basecamp (best collaboration software for task management)

Basecamp is an online collaboration software and project management software. It helps streamline remote team efficiency in a quick and easy manner.

Firstly there are scheduling features which lety teams prioritize tasks and projects. Basecamp’s project management tools include message boards that are simple to navigate and search. You get great to-do lists with assignable tasks. Basecamp also has group chats and direct messaging. You can also store and share files.

Basecamp is best for:

  • Remote teams

  • Small teams

  • Small businesses

  • Task management

  • Project management

  • Group chats

  • Document management

 

Monday.com (best collaboration software for workflow automation)

Monday.com is a collaboration solution based on visual drag and drop boards. They have many great templates and all are customizable.

One of Monday.com’s main set of features is workflow automation. Without knowing any code you can set up triggers based on simple rules. It also has the standard views like kanban boards, calendar and gantt charts. There is whiteboard collaboration and time tracking. Monday.com also has analytics and reporting and good mobile apps. You can also sync it up with Outlook and Gmail.

Monday.com is best for:

  • Remote teams

  • Startups

  • SMEs

  • Whiteboard collaboration

  • Workflow automation

  • Task management

  • Time tracking

 

Zoho Cliq (best free collaboration software for team communication)

Brought to you by Zoho, a huge name in business SaaS, Zoho Cliq is a team communication tool. It integrates well with all of Zoho’s apps. There’s even a free version.

Zoho Cliq lets remote teams collaborate in real-time. You can have individual conversations or group communication channels. File sharing and storage is easy. Going from chatting to video calls is done with one click. Zoho Cliq handles virtual video conferencing well. GThis includes screen sharing. You can also sync calendar events.

Zoho Cliq is best for:

  • SMEs

  • Large businesses

  • Remote teams

  • Group chats

  • Video conferencing

  • Task management

 

Google Drive (best collaboration software for small businesses)

Few are strangers to Google Drive. It’s the umbrella brand for many of Google’s productivity products. 

It includes Google docs which allow teams to collaborate in real-time. Other collaboration tools include Google Sheets and Google Slides. Google Drive syncs with other G Suite apps like Gmail and Google Calendar. Zook also integrates with it. There is a lot of cloud storage on Google Drive for file sharing. The platform works well on Mac and windows, as well with mobile apps for iOS and Android. 

Google Drive is best for:

  • Small teams

  • Startups 

  • Small businesses

  • File sharing

  • Cloud storage

  • Collaboration features

Choosing the best collaboration tools for your needs: key takeaways

Knowing your needs is the first step to picking collaboration software. If you’re looking for a platform that will boost your team’s communication, there are some great options. Skype, Microsoft Teams and Slack are all great platforms for communication, though Skype is better for video conferencing while Slack is better for texting.

There are a handful of good project management and team collaboration software. Trello is intuitive, while Monday.com has some more complex features. Wrike might also be worth checking out if you are on a budget and want to start with a free version.

As for file sharing and document management, you got choices. Microsoft’s Sharepoint is very professional. Podio is good too and also has a free version. Confluence adds knowledge sharing to file sharing.

None of the above platforms are too narrow. You’ll generally get a range of the core features. If however you want something that does it all, check out Flock or Bsecamp.

    

FAQs

What is the most popular workplace collaboration tool?

Trello, with its drag and drop kanban boards, is one of the most popular workplace collaboration tools for project management. For team communication, Slack is the one of the most popular workplace collaboration tools. Podio is also among the most popular workplace collaboration tools for file sharing.

How do you choose collaboration tools?

Choosing the right collaboration tools depends on your needs. Consider if you want workplace collaboration tools for project management, team communication or file sharing. If you are a small enough team, some collaboration software offer free versions, like Flock, Podop or Wrike. 

When would you use collaboration tools?

Collaboration tools are used in offices and on-premise workplaces. But they are even more useful with distributed workforces, remote working, and when people work from home. You use collaboration software to work together on tasks and manage projects, communicate via text voice or video, and share files.

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