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What is Collaboration Software?

Collaboration Software is a suite of business applications that enable team members to work together on different activities and projects. Collaboration packages generally consist of tools for effective communication, document exchange, conferencing, and real time assistance which diminish collaboration obstacles in remote and decentralized teams. Thanks to these applications, companies can keep all of their employees on the same page, save time and money, and identify problems at an early stage. In order to discover the best collaboration system on the market, check our frontrunner and similar products listed in this category.

How was this ranking made?

To come up with this list of best collaboration software we have analyzed 215 different solutions currently available on the market, comparing their features, ease-of-use, customer support, available integrations and mobile support using our unique SmartScore rating system. This ranking has been prepared by Nestor Gilbert, our B2B expert responsible for the collaboration software category.

List of Top 20 Collaboration Software

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Our score: 9.8 User satisfaction: 99%

An industry-leading collaboration and communication app for teams. This software offers a collaboration-first interface that allows users to build Boards with a wide variety of powerful columns. With this flexibility, the software allows teams to handle any type of project. The platform also seamlessly integrates with third-party apps to ensure easier adoption.

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2. Wrike

Our score: 9.7 User satisfaction: 99%

A collaboration software that provides user-friendly navigation and flexible project views for easier project management. From the software's three-pane layout, you can quickly prioritize tasks, talk to team members, and monitor overall project progress. Powerful reporting and analytics tools also help you generate accurate reports with important metrics.

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3. Trello

Our score: 9.4 User satisfaction: 97%

A simple yet efficient project management system that lets you break down large projects into smaller tasks and lists. The software offers Kanban-style boards, cards, and lists, along with drag-and-drop functions to help users organize projects and track project progress. Free Trello apps for Android and iOS also ensure that users can work and manage their tasks wherever they are.

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4. Jira

Our score: 9.3 User satisfaction: 97%

A popular project management software used by top brands such as eBay and Cisco. This platform offers flexibility through its ability to support Scrum, Kanban, and Scrumban methodologies. A simple, intuitive interface helps managers set clear workflows to improve productivity. Integrations with over 3,000 third-party applications also allow users to further extend the platform's capabilities.

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5. Zoho Projects

Our score: 9.1 User satisfaction: 99%

A free online project planning and collaboration tool that helps you get your projects done on time and within budget. The software lets you break down projects into smaller milestones, tasks, and subtasks for easier tracking. Users can also collaborate through multiple channels, including chat, feeds, forums, and Wikis.

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6. Smartsheet

Our score: 9.4 User satisfaction: 99%

An award-winning enterprise SaaS collaboration solution for organizations of all sizes. The platform combines the familiarity and ease of use of spreadsheets with features such as visual timeline management, file sharing, discussion threads, and automated workflows. The platform also allows users to set rules to automate actions and save time on tedious tasks.

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7. Atlassian Confluence

Our score: 9.1 User satisfaction: 98%

A collaboration software that lets you build your own workspace through customized pages, which facilitate easier knowledge sharing, ease collaboration, and improve user engagement. The platform offers various built-in templates for Pages, along with features to help organize these pages. Inline and page comments also speed up the feedback process.

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8. ProjectManager

Our score: 9.2 User satisfaction: 100%

An online project management software packed with features for industries of all types and projects of any size. An easy-to-use interface with drag-and-drop functions ensures that users can easily adjust due dates when needed. Chat and discussion features facilitate easier collaboration. Managers will also be able to compare projects' actual vs. planned progress to ensure maximum productivity.

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9. Clarizen

Our score: 9.1 User satisfaction: 100%

A social collaboration and project management software that helps companies improve team productivity. The platform offers a user interface that facilitates a more efficient workflow, connecting social context with tasks and projects. Workflow automation features also help users save time on administrative tasks and focus on high-value goals. Meanwhile, advanced security features and user permissions minimize security risks.

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10. Mavenlink

Our score: 9.1 User satisfaction: 99%

A collaborative solution targeted towards services firms, helping these organizations establish an operational system of records that facilitates their business lifecycle. This platform offers key capabilities like resource management, project management, collaboration, project accounting, and business intelligence. Integrations with accounting software and productivity software also extend the platform's capabilities.

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11. ConnectWise Manage

Our score: 8.8 User satisfaction: 94%

A compact business suite that combines projects, services, marketing, sales, and finance in a single package. The platform allows users to manage projects and assign tasks while streamlining activities for purchasing, marketing, and customer service. The software's help desk features also enable efficient ticketing and accurate documentation.

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12. Zoho Forms

Our score: 8.5 User satisfaction: 96%

Zoho Forms speeds up data collection, connects team members, and helps users build and share personalized online forms. Users can also configure email alerts so form submissions go to the right team member. Moreover, the platform offers a digital signature feature; this feature allows users to organize approval processes and improves accountability among teams.

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13. Speakap

Our score: 8.8 User satisfaction: 96%

A secure communication platform that allows organizations in different verticals to engage with non-desk employees. The software provides organizations with the right communication channels to reach underserved segments of the workforce. News feeds, chat, and timelines also ensure that companies can keep open lines of communication among team members and departments.

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14. OnBoard

Our score: 8.8 User satisfaction: 97%

Collaboration software that provides board management solutions to help managers and directors organize day-to-day activities. The software provides features to let users set up daily, weekly, and monthly agendas and exchange files and notes in a shared database. An easy-to-use dashboard ensures that users can quickly access these features for added productivity.

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15. Xoxoday Empuls

Our score: 8.7 User satisfaction: 96%

A collaboration software that can help organizations manage worker participation and facilitate easier communication among teams. The platform comes with built-in features for group chats and personal messages, centralizing communication channels for easier information sharing and documentation. Pulse surveys and survey distribution tools also encourage employees to share constructive feedback.

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16. Blink

Our score: 8.7 User satisfaction: 98%

A mobile-first employee app that provides modern solutions and improvements to workplace communication. The platform provides users with team calendars, customized activity feeds, and messaging features for easier collaboration with other users. As a mobile-first application, the software can also be used even when employees are working outside the office.

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17. Hive

Our score: 8.5 User satisfaction: 97%

An employee app that comes with its own mobile app allowing improvements to workplace communication. The platform allows you to use your preferred project planning methods, including Gantt charts and Kanban boards. Action templates also enable automation, which helps users do away with repetitive tasks and focus on more important tasks. Moreover, smart dashboards provide data-based insights into team performance.

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18. PDFelement Pro

Our score: 8.8 User satisfaction: 98%

A professional, reliable, and powerful PDF editing and conversion application with cost-effective pricing and an intuitive interface. Through OCR technology, the software gives users full control of PDF files and provides search and select capabilities for documents. Users can easily add comments and annotations to documents to make collaboration more convenient.

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19. Zoho Connect

Our score: 8.3 User satisfaction: 97%

Zoho Connect is an enterprise social networking software tool that allows people to connect with their colleagues, share ideas, and disseminate information.

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20. MarketerBoard

Our score: 8.0 User satisfaction:

MarketerBoard is a virtual workspace where marketing teams can converge to discuss and collaborate on marketing projects.

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Collaboration Software Guide

Table of contents

Collaboration tools enable companies to unite their employees and to make the most of their talent and potential. Most of the time, it consists of sharing and contribution platforms and excessive online databases where all corporate information is made available to all employees. Still, one has to be careful when choosing the best collaboration tools, and to know a few basic things in advance:

Get to know each product with free trial

In most cases you will want to try out some free trial plans or demo from the most popular collaboration software providers in order to understand better what is collaboration software and to check out key features of their software tools first. That way you can get some insight on how the software works and also do a comparison before you commit any money. The best thing to do is to try services that currently have the highest rankings in the SmartScore and Customer Satisfaction Rating in our collaboration software reviews and choose the best collaboration software for your company: Wrike reviewsNutcacheeXo PlatformJIRAWorkfrontZoho ProjectsProWorkFlowZoho DocsProcoreMavenlinkAzeus ConveneTeamDesk and LiquidPlanner.

Targeted Businesses

Generally, collaboration software suits every team that works on large and complex projects, and needs to communicate for the purpose. Your team would qualify for the purchase as well, if it is for instance:

  • A team that needs a digital brainstorming workplace. Sometimes, all it takes to develop phenomenal solutions is to bring employees on the same table, just that this time it is a digital one. Thanks to collaboration software, you can get the most of your talent and human capacity regardless of where your team members may be located.
  • A team that tracks multiple tasks at a time. Projects usually consist of multiple parts, each of them assigned to a particular group of people. Still, most project parts are ‘movable’ and depend on each other, and teams have to stay connected in order to meet deadlines appropriately.
  • A team that shares plenty of files. There is no better way to share files than using a certified and safe collaboration repository, where everybody will have access to every file, and will be able to attach their feedback.
  • A team that feels disconnected. Nowadays, where companies are decentralized and employees work from all possible locations, it is difficult to keep them together and to make them share their priorities and accomplishments. Being able to communicate via professional networks makes them feel more united, namely as a team.

Collaboration Software For Enterprises

Collaboration apps are used to collect and archive all relevant corporate information on one location, from where it will be available to all team members, and where they can cooperate to complete their assignments in the best possible way. The more employees are involved and the more tasks are assigned, the more difficult it becomes to unify their work, which is why large businesses are in need of a robust collaboration system. These systems enable a smooth flow of data and give a chance to the company’s most valuable ideas, in particular opportunities that can be neglected during busy day-to-day management. A distinctive advantage is also that businesses get to extend their reach to global talent, and to do it on a fraction of the usual cost, being able at the same time to keep most decentralized teams virtually connected. Eventually, the business improves also its customer satisfaction rates, being one of the key reasons why such systems are introduced. For more information and to do informed comparisons, read our detailed reviews of the top 10 collaboration software.

What are Examples of Collaboration Software?

  • Wrike: A fast and easy collaboration platform that unites co-located teams that allows companies to track progress in real time.
  • Asana: A task management app for small business and large organizations that drills down to the smallest tasks and files. It is empowered with a notification mechanism for every task/project related activity.
  • Trello: A well-known project management app that uses the concept of boards (boards are the projects, and cards are the tasks).
  • Jira: One of the most popular project management programs, known by its capacity to help you prioritize, and by its powerful integration with leading retail platforms.
  • Clarizen: A very powerful combination of social collaboration and project management which helps companies to prioritize their budgets and to manage projects much faster.

You can get more details on other leading apps by reading our in-depth reviews of the top 15 collaboration solutions.

Types of Collaboration Software

Collaboration software can be divided into three distinct categories, each with its own range of functionalities. It’s possible your company will need all of these functionalities, but quite often you’ll only need a few of these. It should be expected that more sophisticated features will cost more, so you should only buy the elements you really need.

Informal discussions and presentations

  • phone conference that connects multiple lines
  • video conference that displays the speaker or simultaneously all members
  • online conference that features phone and video conferencing with presentation tools like screen sharing, document sharing, or slideshows

If you need collaboration software that’s more focused on communication, you can check out software like Slack, Blink, and Speakap. These tools’ main features center on facilitating faster, more convenient communication among team members and across departments.

Sharing information

  • e-mail groups that let members send emails to the group or specific members
  • social networking sites that let members create profiles to connect with other members or groups
  • document sharing that lets members share and edit documents collaboratively in real time
  • message boards that allow members to post discussions and follow threads

If you’re looking for collaboration software that eases information sharing across users and teams, consider software such as Zimbra, Magentrix, and Workplace by Facebook. These platforms allow users to set up discussion threads and forums for specific projects.

Project collaboration

More robust collaboration solutions include project management tools for a complete package. However, some vendors sell project management as a separate solution. If your business is project-intensive like in the construction industry, it’s recommended to get a full project management software than a collaboration solution with project management tools. On the other hand, if your projects are small or intermittent and you just need occasional project management tools, collaboration software with these tools are perfect. Here are some basic project management features to check:

  • task assignments to help you organize who’s doing what and when
  • time management with shared calendars to keep tab of daily accomplishments
  • milestone charting (e.g., Gantt) to keep tab of the project’s overall progress
  • knowledge base to collate best practices or solutions that others can use
  • reporting tools to document the project from start to end
  • online community that acts as a portal for members to share documents, calendars, blogs, message boards, etc.
  • wikis and blogs that let members collaborate and build an online presence filled with informative content relevant to the project

Most collaboration software also double as project management software, but some tools are more suited to certain workflows and methodologies. If you’re looking for a collaboration software for Kanban workflows, for instance, you can look up Wrike, Trello, and Volerro.

Key Features of Collaboration Software

  • Organized Dashboards – The dashboard is the main entrance to all your projects and tasks, where you can see what has been assigned to very employee, and follow progress, statistics, upcoming events, or to join a discussion.
  • File Sharing – Don’t settle for less than an advanced file sharing platform. We could all agree that a collaboration tool would be useless without a central repository that saves all files, or without the possibility for employees to attach a report while discussing it.
  • Mobile Optimization – It is no longer enough for employees to access information on their mobile devices. The revolutionary approach is to let them work on the go, namely attach and download files, or join a discussion of interest. Ideally, your collaboration product should offer apps for all operating systems.
  • Easy Setup – Get the software that doesn’t require too much time or effort to set up so you can start your collaboration effort fast.
  • Easy Data Retrieval – Whether it’s an opinion, comment, recommendation, report, or message, information should be easy to locate with a powerful search engine.
  • Gamification – Gamification is critical for executives to follow the work of their teams, but also for individuals to be motivated with awards and recognitions. At the same time, gamification plays a significant role for guided missions, because employees are able to define how far they’ve gotten, and to estimate which are their bad and good sides.
  • Vendor support – It should be easy to ask help from the vendor in case of a glitch. Response time should not exceed 24 hours lest your project risks a delay.

Benefits of Collaboration Software

Purchasing collaboration software is often a decision on the line, knowing both how suspicious entrepreneurs are when letting data go viral and how many communication alternatives can be used instead. Still, there is a list of benefits to be obtained from using private collaboration networks, and easy access is only one of them:

  • Lower Costs. Large and crowded offices are far behind us, because collaboration software makes it possible for employees to stay connected and join online conferences wherever they may be. This way, the company doesn’t have to pay for travel expenses and telecommunications, and it can keep employees behind their desks instead of moving them around for brainstorming meetings.
  • Employee Satisfaction. Not even the most introvert or less included employees will stay in the shadows, because everybody will have the chance to join conversations and to make a contribution. This will provide employees with access to valuable information, and most of all – a feeling that they are valuable for your company and your mission.
  • Less Information Disorder. If any. We all know how messy emails can be, and that they can lock valuable information in few inboxes around the company where it is of no use to the teams. Once shared on a collaboration platform, information and conversation history are saved in a comprehensive database and secured with administered access.
  • Access to Knowledge. There is no easier way to on-board a new employee than including him in a collaboration platform where he can access documents and follow discussions. Experienced workers will also benefit from it, as they will be able to learn from each other.
  • Managing Projects. That’s true, projects already have software of their own, but that doesn’t mean that tasks can be tracked individually or that teams will be able to share critical information instantly. Besides, assigning tasks to particular employees is a very important, if not the most important detail of every project.

Most of the trends we were predicting at the beginning of this year are already a fact, which makes us believe that the current ones are already on their way:

  • Enterprise Work Management. Business is becoming more and more digital, and more processes are shifting towards social intranet support. Collaboration software, as being the one able to generate most interactions, will very likely appear under a more agile teamwork model, probably less formal than the one available now.
  • Specialization. One thing that standard collaboration software can fail to respond to are specific collaboration needs of different industries. There are branches where teams need to collaborate in a more specific manner, which is why experts expect collaboration software to become more industry-specific in the upcoming years.
  • VR and AR capabilities. Breakthroughs in virtual reality and augmented reality technology may soon allow remote teams to have meetings that are more immersive. The technology will also help users create virtual spaces for more efficient collaboration and brainstorming, even outside the office. These advanced features can help teams feel more connected, increasing overall productivity.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning. According to studies, 41% of companies plan to leverage AI to streamline communication and collaboration in the future. Intelligent, specialized voice assistants and collaborative robots (CoBots) can go a long way in automating time-consuming tasks so you and your team can focus on brainstorming efforts.

Potential Issues

The way we put it so far, collaboration software is amazing and there is no reason for a company not to purchase it. Still, there are few drawbacks each executive should consider before making a decision.

  • Cost. To be completely frank, collaboration software is not among the cheapest out there, and the more powerful it is, the more expensive it will become. The licensing costs are sometimes outraging, not even to mention setup and maintenance. Still, this doesn’t have to mean that there is no affordable tool – you just have to consider your needs, and to look for one.
  • Security. Once data goes viral, there is no way to protect it 100%. What you can do in any case is to look for a reputable vendor who can offer administered access.

Best Practices for Choosing Collaboration Software

Picking the right collaboration software for your team can be a tricky prospect. Here are some tips that can help you make the right choice.

  • Consider the software’s security features. It’s always a good idea to explore a tool’s security features to ensure that it doesn’t compromise your business’ data. Some security features to consider include end-to-end encryption for messages, user-level access control, and multifactor authentication. These features ensure that you and your team can work without worrying about data leaks or security threats. 
  • Check the software’s compatibility with your ecosystem of apps and devices. If your team already uses certain software for their tasks, make sure that your collaboration tool of choice plays well with these apps. The good news is that most collaboration software today come with built-in integrations for a wide range of productivity and business software. You also have to make sure that the collaboration software you choose is compatible with devices used by your team, including mobile devices. 
  • Ask for feedback from users themselves. Your team’s feedback is important, as they’ll be the main users of the collaboration software you choose. You can sign up for free trials of collaboration tools and ask your team members to test-drive these tools for a set amount of time. This way, they get a firsthand experience of each tool’s features. The feedback you gather should prove to be useful in choosing the right collaboration software for your team.
  • Examine the software’s total cost of ownership. It’s important to consider how much collaboration software will cost to implement in your organization, especially since many of these tools charge on a per-user basis. However, it’s equally important to examine how the software will impact your business’ other resources. For instance, can your network support the bandwidth required by the software? How many hours will onboarding and troubleshooting consume?

Focus on the reasons you need the software, not on what’s trendy. With the growing popularity and number of collaboration software, it’s easy to get distracted by trendy tools with advanced features. It’s best to keep in mind why you need collaboration software in the first place. This will help you focus on looking for tools that offer capabilities that will meet your needs while avoiding the common pitfall of choosing flashy software that’s not the right fit for your organization.

Important Questions to Ask Collaboration Software Vendors

Another way to ensure that you’re choosing the right collaboration software is to ask vendors directly about the software they offer. Here are some important questions that can help you determine if a collaboration tool can meet your needs.

How do organizations bigger than us benefit from your platform?

Scalability is a key feature of collaboration software, as you don’t want to keep getting new software as your business grows. You can ask how the software will adjust its features if you added 500 new employees, for instance. This should tell you what you need to know about the software’s capability to grow and adapt alongside your business. 

What kind of support do you offer?

A software vendor’s support capabilities are crucial especially since collaboration software typically has many users within an organization. Some collaboration tools offer more support channels than others, providing knowledge bases, training videos, and 24/7 live chat support. Comprehensive support capabilities can come in handy for onboarding purposes. 

Are you working on any new features?

It’s always better to go with vendors who are continuously working to improve their products and services. You want to choose a collaboration software that will be regularly updated with new or improved features to better meet your organization’s needs.

List of Collaboration Software Companies

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Things to consider when you invest in a SaaS

Disaster recovery and security are two important aspects that need to be considered by SaaS consumers when analyzing potential vendors.

Many SaaS vendors do not have a disaster recovery site. Therefore, ask the following questions to your shortlisted providers: How do you test your disaster recovery processes? What is your recovery time? How often do you test? Do you have discrete infrastructure; are your main site and your disaster recovery site positioned in different geographical locations?

You need to be aware that many SaaS providers do not use enterprise-grade infrastructure to install SaaS apps. Many systems have multiple providers. For instance, there may be a firewall provider, an Internet provider, and a few others too in the mix. If an issue rears up, there is a lot of finger-pointing. This issue is common with on-premise IT platforms. The solution is to minimize the number of providers so that there is answerability to ensure they take responsibility about performance.

Ask the potential SaaS vendors the following queries about security: Is your organization SAS70 compliant? What security measures are used at your data centers? What security audits and guidelines does your company follow? Who manages access and identity management, web application firewalls, log file management, and network connectivity?

Needless to say, take your time to research methodically and get the answers to the above questions before you invest in a suitable SaaS system.

Frequently asked questions about Collaboration Software

What is the best collaboration software?

The best collaboration software is serves as a compact, efficient solution for teams looking to improve collaboration and communication. The platform offers highly customizable features, an advantage for teams handling complex projects and workflows. uses a Board concept, allowing users to list projects and tasks together for easier access. These Boards work in tandem with the Column Center, which gives you all the capabilities to handle tasks that come your way. You can mix and match boards and columns to deal with any type of projects, from construction to marketing, or accounting to creative ones.

These projects and tasks can be connected to other users or external team members. You can control access at the user level to minimize the risk of data leaks. You can also add code-free automations to your boards to boost productivity and reduce the risk of human error. 

The platform also offers various features for project planning, including a Workload feature that lets you see how much is on a team member’s plate. Timeline views also allow managers to see what their teams have planned for given timeframes. In a Timeline view, you can also add deliverables and set deadlines. 

Moreover, easily integrates with over 50 third-party applications, including video conferencing applications, productivity software, and marketing software. With these integrations, your team can spend less time switching between software and focus on completing tasks and projects.

What are the benefits of collaboration software?

Efficient project management. Many collaboration software come with features for managing projects, allowing users to assign tasks and set deadlines and managers to oversee project progress. 

Easy information sharing. Users of collaboration tools can easily share relevant documents and have in-context discussions on tasks and projects. This helps users save time on digging through email threads for important files.

Improved productivity and employee satisfaction. By combining multiple functions into one platform, collaboration software helps employees save time on switching between apps. These tools also empower employees to join conversations and make contributions to projects.

No information silos. The software ensures that data remains accessible to those who need it and that important information isn’t just locked up in certain mailboxes in the team. Collaboration tools collect the information into a database without compromising security. 

Lower costs. The software also helps businesses enjoy lower costs through conferencing and communication features that reduce the need for employees to travel. 

What are the features of collaboration software?

Collaboration tools today offer various capabilities, but these software share the following standard features:

Organized project dashboards. The software provides a centralized dashboard through which you can view project progress, task status, as well as upcoming calendar events.

Project management and task management. The software lets you streamline the management of projects and tasks, so you can assign tasks to individual users, set deadlines, and monitor overall project progress.

File sharing and information retrieval. Most collaboration tools facilitate easy file sharing, allowing users to upload documents, images, and videos relevant to projects. These files, along with messages, comments, and other information, are easily searchable by users as well. 

Mobile optimization. This feature ensures that team members and managers can use collaboration tools on mobile devices, for cases where users are working on the go.

Integrations with third-party apps. These integrations ensure that the software works well with applications already being used by employees. These integrations also ease the adoption of collaboration software. 

Easy setup. These tools are also easy to install and set up, so teams can quickly take advantage of easier collaboration and improve their productivity. 

Vendor support. Most vendors of these software provide ample support to users to reduce downtime and prevent project delays caused by software glitches or issues. 

What is the easiest collaboration software to use?

It’s important that collaboration software is easy to use, so many of these tools have an intuitive user interface. This ease of use makes onboarding faster and helps boost productivity and software adoption. These collaboration tools are among the easiest to use:

Wrike. One of the most popular collaboration software today, Wrike provides a centralized hub for projects, tasks, and files, along with user-friendly navigation. The three-pane project view is particularly useful for tracking project operations. 

Zoho Projects. Zoho Project stands out for its user-friendly interface, which is easy to navigate without compromising functionality. The software’s features include project planning, workflow management, and time-tracking tools. 

Smartsheet. With its spreadsheet-like interface, Smartsheet will feel familiar to many employees today. Users can add tasks and update task status in a matter of minutes, while managers will be able to easily monitor project progress.

What is a good free collaboration software?

The good news is that there are plenty of collaboration software you can use, totally free of charge. Here are some free collaboration software you can try:

Trello. Trello offers a comprehensive feature set for its Free plan, which allows users to set up boards, lists, and cards and upload attachments. The free version of Trello also provides integrations with document management software such as Box and Dropbox.

Jira. Jira has a free plan that provides users with features to set up scrumboards, Kanban boards, and customized workflows. You also get 2 GB storage, along with access to community support. 

Brief. Offering only a free plan, Brief centralizes team communication, task management functions, and file sharing capabilities into one platform. For easier communication, the platform offers video chat capabilities as well.

Nestor Gilbert

By Nestor Gilbert

Senior writer for FinancesOnline. If he is not writing about the booming SaaS and B2B industry, with special focus on developments in CRM and business intelligence software spaces, he is editing manuscripts for aspiring and veteran authors. He has compiled years of experience editing book titles and writing for popular marketing and technical publications.


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