With the rise of the Internet and mobile technology over the decades, the business world has expanded rapidly. With this expansive growth comes outstanding consumer demands — and to meet these requirements, boost productivity, stay ahead of the competition, and continue moving forward, it’s vital for businesses to implement the proper tools, applications, and strategies into their business operations.
Luckily, today’s workforce is more flexible than ever, and businesses are hiring remote employees to distribute some of their work. The result of this: more work completed in less time on an affordable budget.
To find success with this business strategy, collaboration is pivotal.
What is collaboration in the workplace?
By Merriam Webster’s definition, collaboration is “the work and activity of a number of persons who individually contribute toward the efficiency of the whole.”
In plain language, that means working together to reach a common goal. In the workplace, collaboration refers to team members working together online in real-time.
Why is workplace collaboration so important?
Your company’s productivity can increase by 20 to 30% by using various web collaboration tools.
With true collaborative solutions, there’s no longer a need to be in the same room at the same time to work on the same project. Collaboration enables teams to brainstorm, contribute individual ideas and perspectives, share resources, make decisions, and reach goals together — all from different locations. In short, it bridges the gap between discussion and action like never before.
Additional benefits of collaboration include:
- More work completed without compromising on results
- Critical decisions made early on in the project
- Efficient problem-solving due to varied intelligence areas
- More valued individuals based on unique skill sets
- Overall team cohesion
Types of online collaboration tools
The term “collaboration software” isn’t just a single, all-encompassing product. There’s a broad range of apps, tools, and services out there that each play a role in team collaboration. This makes perfect sense considering large marketing teams don’t require the same collaboration tools as small start-up companies.
So before we tell you about some of the best online collaboration software on the market, it’s important to be aware of the different types. While most people are aware of traditional document collaboration tools, like G Suite and Microsoft Office Online, they may not be quite as familiar with the more advanced online collaboration tools that fall into these categories:
- File sharing
- Project management
- Software development
Let’s now examine some of the top online collaboration tools unique to each category.
20 online collaboration tools
(Please note that many of these applications cross over into multiple categories, and they are not limited to only identifying with the category they fall under on this list.)
Slack, one of the fastest growing startups to date, is another powerful team messaging app, used by millions of remote team members around the world. This real-time communication tool operates in channels to better stay organized with various projects and features notification and reminder settings to help track conversations.
You can also use hashtags to highlight keywords during discussions so you (and other members) can later use Slack’s search feature to find relevant chat histories quickly. With certain paid accounts, all messages are stored and archived within the platform.
Slack allows for the sending of direct messages to a single person, a group of individuals, or the entire team using @everyone. It supports voice calls and video chats with team members as well. Integration with services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Box allow for file sharing with drag and drop capabilities.
Yammer, an enterprise social network with over 7 million users, provides a platform for colleagues to collaborate and communicate safely and privately. Employees must join the network using a company email address, and can then access the platform via desktop or mobile.
Users can have both private conversations with individual colleagues, and public chats within specific groups. They can also post updates, and “like” other user’s updates (similar to Facebook).
Now owned by Microsoft, Yammer can be integrated with SharePoint for easy and convenient document collaboration. Also, users can collaborate with partners and customers using Yammer’s External Groups.
Similar to the other communication tools available, Chanty allows for seamless communication and collaboration among small teams. It features instant messaging, audio and video calls, unlimited search history with voice transcripts, easy file sharing, and notification options.
What sets Chanty apart from the rest is its algorithm that predicts responses, and saves you valuable time.
Instapage is the perfect collaborative solution for landing page design, as it is the only landing page platform that offers integrated collaboration capabilities for marketing teams and agencies.
Fully integrated with our landing page builder, our collaboration solution allows team members and clients to share and respond to comments, provide feedback, and resolve issues — all in real-time and right within the landing page platform.
Instead of dealing with confusing, marked-up screenshots and scattered communication across multiple, disconnected channels, marketers can now design and build their landing pages with a smooth, streamlined review process.
Sketch is a UI-focused, niche design collaboration app intended just for Mac users. It’s ideal for creating mobile, web, and graphic design prototypes quickly and without unnecessary clutter. Since this online collaboration tool creates a direct link between the web design phase and the web development phase, it’s closely in line with front-end frameworks.
One of Sketch’s greatest features is the ability to create symbols, or custom groups that can be used across any number of pages. The app also can create and save various text styles for headers, body text, buttons, etc., and allows users to share these styles so members can quickly and easily change a set of text all at once.
Other unique features of Sketch include convenient scalability, easy-to-use measuring tools, and easy exporting.
InVision is a design collaboration platform that enables teams to manage projects from a single dashboard. First, users upload their designs as interactive prototypes with all gestures, transitions, animations, etc., and then colleagues and clients can provide instant feedback in the form of comments.
All team members are encouraged to stay up-to-date with projects in real-time with the platform’s featured actionable to-do lists.
RealtimeBoard is a popular software for SaaS companies for many reasons — a primary one being that they integrate with Sketch to enable users to add their Sketch artboards to their RealtimeBoard without having to upload each image individually.
Rather than making users start with a completely blank canvas (although this is also an option), RealtimeBoard offers a selection of pre-made templates to help structure and organize projects more efficiently. With all canvases, navigation is made easy with unique mouse controls and specific frame sizes. Users can also add post-it notes to write down ideas and provide feedback, and ultimately improve collaboration with colleagues.
GoVisually is a bit more advanced than InVision, as this tool allows clients and collaborators to leave comments and mark annotations on projects. Annotations can be applied as elliptical, rectangular, or lasso, and color and weight can be customized as well. Revisions of the project can easily be visited, and it’s simple to switch between the different versions at any time.
When multiple team members are working on the same page, different layers are applied for each user (similar to Photoshop). These layers can be hidden or displayed, which is particularly useful when collaborating with many team members or various departments. Collaborators are unlimited with this tool.
Concept inbox allows teams and clients to leave both real-time comments and annotations on design projects, with full control over transitioning between versions. Users can upload their designs as high-quality, fully-active prototypes to show exactly how an interactive app would work.
Other features include email notifications when comments are left on a design, as well as video, image, and document sharing.
Hightail is designed to help businesses manage their projects from start to finish, by allowing users to share images, videos, PDFs, and more with other team members. Clients may be added at any time to provide feedback on files before completion, and all changes are tracked and saved. In addition, administrative level security can be implemented to ensure the privacy of specific projects.
Unlike other file sharing tools that simply backup your files, SugarSync backs up your files and your existing folder structure. This means everything is in the same location across all devices, so no matter which device you’re accessing your files from, they’re quick and easy to find.
Wrike is a web collaboration tool with which colleagues can collaborate seamlessly. This app features time tracking capabilities, detailed project planning with dashboards, easy-to-read overviews of individual workloads and deadlines, real-time activity streams, and more.
To hold all team members accountable, Wrike enables tracking of individuals’ progress and shows the overall contribution to the team. For agencies and other client-based businesses, there are customized reports showing how much time and money is being spent on specific projects to ensure you’re staying on deadline and under budget.
Launched in 2008, Asana is one of the oldest and most well-known collaboration platforms on the market, used by companies like Pinterest, Intel, Uber, and TED.
Designed for companies to track the work of their employees, Asana allows business owners to create to-do lists for ongoing projects, set reminders for upcoming deadlines, and send messages and requests to colleagues. All projects can be organized in a list or board format, and a search function enables users to locate past work quickly and easily.
Featuring an entire suite of collaborative tools for convenient project management, Basecamp is used by thousands of project teams worldwide.
Its top features include projects with task assignments and to-do lists, file sharing, separate dashboards for individual clients, message boards, email and desktop notifications, and in-app commenting.
Trello is another one of the most well-known project management collaboration tools, providing companies with an easy way to organize teams, projects, and tasks. With the use of Kanban-style project boards and individual task cards (which are essentially like Post-It notes), your entire team can stay up-to-date with all aspects of projects with just a quick glimpse at the board. Cards can easily be edited, deleted, and moved around, and they can even contain specific to-do lists and task assignments.
Trello boasts integrations with many apps, including Slack, Google Drive, GitHub, and Evernote.
GitHub, one of the most popular software repositories on the web, has hosted over 9 million software projects to date. This tool focuses on open-source software and features a version control system called a Git, where developers can host their software projects for free and talk “code” with other developers.
Bitbucket is another widely used software collaboration tool. While GitHub focuses on open-source software, Bitbucket is designed for collaboration between developers at large-scale enterprises. Also, this collaboration platform offers unlimited private repositories, while GitHub does not.
Fogbugz separates itself from the crowd by taking a more holistic approach to building software. Rather than only collaborating with other developers, users of this platform can collaborate with designers, marketers, and support staff. This tool even allows for easy communication with customers about feature requests and bugs.
Earlier this year, Vimeo released their own video review collaboration tool to allow users’ to perfect their videos before releasing them to the world.
This tool enables users to share rough cuts of their videos with clients and reviewers to collect feedback from them. At any point during viewing, reviewers can click directly on the video to add a time-coded note. This provides for a complete video-making and editing process from start to finish, saving creators valuable time and money.
Frame.io Enterprise provides large organizations, like media corporations and ad agencies, with a collaborative solution featuring effective team management, optimal security, enhanced support, and more.
Regarding team management, CEOs are provided with visibility of the entire company, while individual teams can focus on their projects. Administrators can create groups based on their business’s needs, manage resource allocation, and control team access and visibility.
As far as security, the platform provides organizations with industry-leading security measures. Since users can access their projects from any device, if a device is ever lost or stolen, an administrative member can quickly disable active sessions, helping protect against a security breach.
To provide enhanced support, Frame.io offers dedicated account representatives, prioritized customer support, and customized onboarding.
Improve your workflow with online collaboration tools
With the increasingly dispersed workforce that we see today, collaborating online is key to diminishing the distance between employees, and increasing the overall productivity of businesses. With the various collaborative solutions discussed above, colleagues can work simultaneously on projects, improve communication, and reduce wasted time.
Start improving your team’s landing page collaboration with the Instapage Collaboration Solution. Our 100% customizable platform will streamline your communication process and improve your workflow in no time.