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Collaboration Software


 
Huddle logo
 
Huddle is a cloud-based project management solution. Key features include integration with Microsoft Word and a dashboard where users can see all aspects of a project. This solution is geared toward large businesses and government... Read More
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Huddle is a cloud-based project management solution. Key features include integration with Microsoft Word and a dashboard where users can see all aspects of a project. This solution is geared toward large businesses and government... Read More
 
Front logo
 
Front is a cloud-based collaboration tool for small and midsize businesses. Front consolidates various communication channels such as email accounts, Facebook and Twitter, and helps users to automate communication workflows. When... Read More
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Front is a cloud-based collaboration tool for small and midsize businesses. Front consolidates various communication channels such as email accounts, Facebook and Twitter, and helps users to automate communication workflows. When... Read More
 
ConnectWise Control logo
 
ConnectWise Control is cloud-based operations management solution that allows technicians to perform remote support, gain remote access and run remote meetings. It acts as a meeting point for technicians and customers, enabling them... Read More
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ConnectWise Control is cloud-based operations management solution that allows technicians to perform remote support, gain remote access and run remote meetings. It acts as a meeting point for technicians and customers, enabling them... Read More
 
Smartsheet logo
 
Smartsheet is a project management application with a spreadsheet-like interface to help teams collaborate, plan projects and manage tasks. The software offers a suite of project management applications, such as document management,... Read More
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Smartsheet is a project management application with a spreadsheet-like interface to help teams collaborate, plan projects and manage tasks. The software offers a suite of project management applications, such as document management,... Read More
 
Quip logo
 
Quip is a cloud-based project management and task collaboration solution that help users work together and communicate without emails. Users can create and edit spreadsheets, documents and checklists in the system, and team members... Read More
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Quip is a cloud-based project management and task collaboration solution that help users work together and communicate without emails. Users can create and edit spreadsheets, documents and checklists in the system, and team members... Read More

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Workfront logo
 
Workfront (formerly AtTask) is a cloud-based project management solution that helps teams  to prioritize, route, manage and report on their work. It is suitable for businesses of any size and industry including IT, architecture and... Read More
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Workfront (formerly AtTask) is a cloud-based project management solution that helps teams  to prioritize, route, manage and report on their work. It is suitable for businesses of any size and industry including IT, architecture and... Read More
 
Slack logo
 
Slack is a web-based project collaboration and team interaction tool designed to facilitate communication across organizations. The solution caters to various industries, including media, research, technology, education, financial... Read More
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Slack is a web-based project collaboration and team interaction tool designed to facilitate communication across organizations. The solution caters to various industries, including media, research, technology, education, financial... Read More
 
Highfive logo
 
Highfive is a vendor that creates video conferencing software and in-room video system hardware. Licensing is on a per-room basis, with unlimited users and usage and no named user fees. Subscriptions to Highfive’s cloud-based services... Read More
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Highfive is a vendor that creates video conferencing software and in-room video system hardware. Licensing is on a per-room basis, with unlimited users and usage and no named user fees. Subscriptions to Highfive’s cloud-based services... Read More
 
Blackboard Collaborate logo
 
Blackboard Collaborate is an online collaborative learning solution designed primarily for elementary and high schools, higher education and government facilities. Blackboard Collaborate offers a browser-based web conferencing tool... Read More
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Blackboard Collaborate is an online collaborative learning solution designed primarily for elementary and high schools, higher education and government facilities. Blackboard Collaborate offers a browser-based web conferencing tool... Read More
 
Clarizen logo
 
Clarizen is an online project management software system that offers a full set of features including: automatic notifications, gantt charts, multi-project management, templates, scheduling and more.
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Clarizen is an online project management software system that offers a full set of features including: automatic notifications, gantt charts, multi-project management, templates, scheduling and more.

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Mavenlink logo
 
Mavenlink offers software and services for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It was designed for professional services, and it is best suited for those who need to collaborate with teams. Mavenlink's... Read More
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Mavenlink offers software and services for project management, resource planning, collaboration and financial management. It was designed for professional services, and it is best suited for those who need to collaborate with teams. Mavenlink's... Read More
 
TurboMeeting logo
 
TurboMeeting is a collaboration solution that provides six real-time collaboration applications, including web conferencing, remote support, audio conferencing, video conferencing, remote access and webinar support. TurboMeeting helps... Read More
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TurboMeeting is a collaboration solution that provides six real-time collaboration applications, including web conferencing, remote support, audio conferencing, video conferencing, remote access and webinar support. TurboMeeting helps... Read More
 
Wrike logo
 
Wrike offers a cloud-based, scalable project management and collaboration platform. Key features include social collaboration tools so users can organize their projects using a single dashboard. Users can assign tasks, track deadlines... Read More
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Wrike offers a cloud-based, scalable project management and collaboration platform. Key features include social collaboration tools so users can organize their projects using a single dashboard. Users can assign tasks, track deadlines... Read More
 
Realtimeboard logo
 
Realtimeboard is a cloud-based collaboration tool for small to midsize businesses. The solution features a digital whiteboard that can be used for research, ideation, building customer journeys and user story maps, wireframing and... Read More
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Realtimeboard is a cloud-based collaboration tool for small to midsize businesses. The solution features a digital whiteboard that can be used for research, ideation, building customer journeys and user story maps, wireframing and... Read More
 
Samepage logo
 
Samepage is a cloud-based collaboration software solution that helps teams eliminate project bottlenecks and communicate seamlessly with team members. Samepage provides a suite of project management tools, communication features and... Read More
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Samepage is a cloud-based collaboration software solution that helps teams eliminate project bottlenecks and communicate seamlessly with team members. Samepage provides a suite of project management tools, communication features and... Read More

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Hive logo
 
Hive is a cloud-based collaboration software tool for small and midsize organizations, primarily in technology-related fields. It is used by project teams to automate and streamline project workflows. Users can communicate with other... Read More
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Hive is a cloud-based collaboration software tool for small and midsize organizations, primarily in technology-related fields. It is used by project teams to automate and streamline project workflows. Users can communicate with other... Read More
 
Directorpoint logo
 
Directorpoint is a cloud-based portal solution designed for boards of directors and executive teams. It is suitable for small, midsize and large organizations, nonprofits and charities. Directorpoint helps users manage committees,... Read More
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Directorpoint is a cloud-based portal solution designed for boards of directors and executive teams. It is suitable for small, midsize and large organizations, nonprofits and charities. Directorpoint helps users manage committees,... Read More
 
XaitPorter logo
 
XaitPorter is a cloud-based collaboration platform that allows different sets of users to simultaneously create and edit different parts of the same document. This solution offers version control, which prevents overwriting and duplication... Read More
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XaitPorter is a cloud-based collaboration platform that allows different sets of users to simultaneously create and edit different parts of the same document. This solution offers version control, which prevents overwriting and duplication... Read More
 
Onehub logo
 
Onehub is a cloud-based collaboration tool and virtual data room that helps users securely store and share their business files. It can be customized to meet users' specific requirements and custom branding needs. Onehub offers a... Read More
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Onehub is a cloud-based collaboration tool and virtual data room that helps users securely store and share their business files. It can be customized to meet users' specific requirements and custom branding needs. Onehub offers a... Read More
 
Basecamp logo
 
Basecamp is a real-time communication tool that helps teams stay on the same page; it’s less for traditional project management tasks (e.g., resource planning and long-term scheduling). With to-do-lists, calendaring, due dates and... Read More
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Basecamp is a real-time communication tool that helps teams stay on the same page; it’s less for traditional project management tasks (e.g., resource planning and long-term scheduling). With to-do-lists, calendaring, due dates and... Read More

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Buyer's Guide

by Brian Westfall,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: October 27, 2017


American entrepreneur and industrialist Henry Ford once famously remarked, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” This quest for collective success is what forms the basis of collaboration software.

Businesses of all sizes are increasingly reaching out to global audiences, which requires them to work with employees, partners and customers that are spread across the world. Traditional methods, such as email, make it difficult to control versions of files or documents shared by multiple people spread across various time zones.

That’s where collaboration tools can help: A collaboration solution offers features that allow multiple stakeholders to combine their knowledge and skills to achieve a common goal without having to be together in the same place.

This guide can help potential buyers find the best solution for their needs. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Collaboration Software?
Common Functionality of Collaboration Software
Benefits of Collaboration Software
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Market Trends to Understand

What Is Collaboration Software? 

Collaboration software enables multiple users to communicate, conference and coordinate among themselves to facilitate group work.

Among other things, the software facilitates the exchange of messages between individuals using emails, instant messengers (IMs), voice/video calls and discussion threads. It also helps with the sharing and management of documents by allowing different users to work simultaneously on the same set of files and updating in real time.

Virtually all types of organizations can benefit from collaboration software, including those in:

  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Construction
  • Goverment
  • Health care
  • Marketing
  • Nonprofits
  • Retail
  • Technology

Common Functionality of Collaboration Software

Most collaboration tools come with some or all of the following capabilities:

Content management Allows collaboration between several authors to create and edit the same document in real time. Enables users to highlight text or add comments, which can be incorporated when editing. Some solutions also allow users to organize and structure content according to document type.
Document management Enables users to upload and share files such as documents, videos and images. Also allows users to store, track and manage different versions of a document and apply role-based permissions to disable access to specific sections of a document.
Calendar management Users can view individual and team-wide calendars to schedule appointments or meetings on the calendars of team members they are working with, irrespective of their locations. This feature may also include synchronization with third-party calendar management applications (e.g., Apple's Calendar or Google Calendar).
Knowledge management Allows users to maintain a repository of all completed and ongoing projects in an organization with all the available versions of a document attached to a project. This process facilitates knowledge sharing within an organization.
Communication software Provides users with tools that allow them to engage with other individuals on a project, such as internal messengers, videoconferencing, discussion forums and team-specific group creation capabilities. Some solutions also allow for the creation of an internal social network with the capability to create individual and team bios so users can like and comment on project updates.
Project management Enables the tracking of project progress by breaking projects into several tasks and setting completion milestones for each. This allows managers to track project dependencies, set timelines for tasks or projects and reschedule tasks according to team schedules. Certain solutions provide a Gantt chart representation to visualize project completion.
Third-party integration Most of the collaboration tools on the market are “best-of-breed,” focusing on a specific group of features. However, some organizations may seek software that can manage their core tasks as well as integrate with other software used, such as email applications, IM, VoIP and web conferencing, among others.

Benefits of Collaborative Software

Business professionals can realize multiple benefits as a result of adopting collaboration tools, including:

Centralizing information. Organizations that have a workforce spread across multiple locations often have problems with communicating project tasks or job schedules to employees. For teams based in different time zones, emails become ineffective when different groups work on the same document, due to issues with version control. Collaboration software centralizes content at a single location and updates it in real time so everyone can view accurate information. Collaboration software also creates a central repository of documents, consolidating the knowledge management efforts of an organization.

Saving on operational costs. A collaboration solution also offers a combination of features, such as document management, content curation, version control, task management, knowledge management and communication tools. Paying for a number of different proprietary solutions specializing in these individual areas can be costly. Collaboration software can help save on project costs by performing multiple functions that would ordinarily require several different tools to accomplish.

Increasing employee productivity. A study by McKinsey found that only 39 percent of the average employee’s workweek is spent on role-specific tasks, while the remaining time is spent writing emails and coordinating with team members. A collaboration solution centralizes communication, allowing users to spend more time on project-related tasks and make faster, more effective decisions.

What Type of Buyer Are You?

Choosing the right collaboration software depends on the size of your business. Consider the following buyer types:

Small and midsize businesses. These businesses typically operate as establishments with up to 100 employees and focus on specific operational areas. Such companies might consider a best-of-breed system that specializes solely in communication and conferencing.

For example, a small company that manages limited projects and has employees concentrated at just a few locations may want to consider a solution that will help them communicate with other members and centralize information.

A midsize organization with an active sales force might instead prioritize a solution with advanced communication and conferencing features, such as web conferencing, community boards and forums and IM capability.

Large enterprises. Big companies typically operate in multiple operational areas with employees based at different locations. For such businesses, coordination is key. These businesses may want to consider a collaboration solution that is a modular suite, allowing them to pick and choose the different modules needed.

For example, a large enterprise that has teams spread across different time zones might seek software that helps them manage complex projects or tasks that are dependent on each other. They may require software that offers document management, task scheduling and content curation in addition to communication and conferencing features.

Market Trends to Understand

Shift towards mobile and BYOD collaboration. Mobile devices are fast outpacing desktops both in terms of number of units sold and usage in terms of work behavior. Personal devices are often employees’ first choice when it comes to accessing work, due to convenience and user-friendliness. Many companies that develop collaboration tools are now developing mobile apps so employees can collaborate effectively regardless of device type.

Social collaboration tools may outpace emails. As early as 2010, Gartner predicted that over 20 percent of businesses would replace emails with social networking tools as the primary method of business communication. Today, this transition is visible as businesses continue to invest in social team collaboration solutions and use email more as a direct communication tool than a project management platform.

 

 

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