Compare 16 collaboration tools that could help you succeed in the era of remote working.
Collaboration tools are on the rise as company owners and managers search for new and innovative ways to connect with their employees and clients remotely. The best of these tools can help to boost your business's productivity and lay the foundations for winning projects. Here's what you need to know.
What are collaboration tools?
Collaboration tools are different types of software and systems that can be used to support people working together in a more efficient way. While such tools are used in and out of the office, recent events have led to increasing awareness of —and competition between — companies who offer software that facilitates online working.
Compare online collaboration tools
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3 quick things to look for when comparing collaboration tools
Keep in mind the following when you're in the market for collaboration tools for your company:
- Cost. If you're looking to keep costs down, compare collaboration tools that offer either a free trial period or a free plan tier that gives you access to the core of the software before you have to pay for more. That way you can try before you buy and make sure that a program offers the solution you need. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to paid-for plans you'll get far more comprehensive features with premium plans.
- Accessibility. To make the most of your communications with your staff, you'll want any tools or software to be available to them on more than just a desktop computer. What's more, you'll want to audit your company's existing business software to make sure you can integrate any tools into your operations.
- Ease of communication. The best collaboration tools go further than simply mitigating productivity losses from a lack of face-to-face meetings. High-quality video conferencing tools, quick file sharing and clear instant messaging services are must-haves for many companies today.
16 popular collaboration tools available in Australia
We compared these tools in September 2020. We endeavour to ensure that the information on this site is current and accurate but you should confirm any information with the product or service provider and read the information it can provide.
There's an increasing range of collaboration tools available in Australia right now. These include:
This business app is popular across the globe and it's easy to see why given how seamlessly it enables communication across company teams and projects. Its free service tier offers multiple dedicated project channels and fast, manageable direct messaging. Learn how to buy Slack shares here.
Good for: Streamlined communications
A powerful collaboration tool, Zoom makes it convenient to host virtual meetings or provide education services – assuming you've got the bandwidth and some basic skills needed to understand its interface. Among its host of slick features is the ability to join a meeting from a Zoom invite in your calendar.
Good for: Virtual meetings
Break down complex projects and utilise cloud-based or self-hosted project management with this sophisticated software from Aussie company Atlassian (read about their share options here). Jira's wide range of features can help companies of any size collaborate on projects and delegate tasks efficiently. The diverse feature-set can be tricky to navigate for first-time users, but the platform is intuitive enough that a little practice could get your team up to speed.
Good for: Highly customisable
The straightforward platform uses kanban — basically, a linear way of organising tasks — to place work in three buckets: to-do, ongoing and done. This offers a clear way for small businesses to accomplish tasks. Plus, the free version might suffice for companies with up to 10 members on a team.
Good for: Small businesses
5. Microsoft Teams
Combine instant messaging, video conferencing and simple file sharing with Microsoft Teams. It's built to support businesses of all sizes, from small startups to Fortune 500 behemoths, along with self-employed individuals. A word of caution: Teams was built around Microsoft's existing suite of apps, so it might not appeal if your company is deeply entrenched in other business software.
Good for: Remote file-sharing
If your team's projects are often task-dependent, with a number of tricky processes then monday.com could be a suitable choice for you. Its tools can cope with the granularity of project management, while its Time Tracking Widget shows the total time spent on items across multiple boards; both for individuals and teams.
Good for: Time-tracking
7. Dropbox Business
Designed to help teams organize and share files efficiently, Dropbox can be used to access multiple files online via a desktop app or on your smartphone or tablet. It has the functionality to sync with the folders on your computer's hard drive, which can be handy for people who frequently work offline.
Good for: Offline working
Businesses with few employees may take advantage of Asana's free tier aimed at teams of less than 15. Even with 30 employees, you could form two teams of 15 and still use Asana's basic plan. Plus, its simple interface suits companies that are looking for simple task management.
Good for: Simple task management
If you're looking to keep track of multiple workstreams, ProofHub offers built-in Kanban boards that let you see work moving through different stages of a project. Tasks can be broken into smaller subtasks and you can assign them directly to team members. ProofHub has a free version and offers a free trial too. Also, there are no contracts to worry about.
Good for: Simple pricing
10. Canva for business
This graphics software takes the technical side out of design, allowing you to create superb visuals with a simple drag-and-drop feature. You can create your own designs with custom dimensions for everything from social media posts and presentations to event invitations.
Good for: Graphics
If you're looking to make webinars more efficient or host collaborative meetings online, you may want to think about ClickMeeting. The browser-based conferencing tool lets you connect easily with others regardless of their location and operating system.
Good for: Webinars
This teleconferencing platform lets employees worldwide dial into your company's meetings. As seen with big competitors such as Zoom, GoToMeeting assigns each user a personal meeting room URL for easy repeat access. It's set up is suited to one-to-one catchups or organisation-wide meetings.
Good for: Teleconferencing
It's super easy to share and discuss ideas with Flock's chat function. Connect with your team on messages and video calls with the minimum of fuss. What's more, the platform lets you manage group discussions, set polls, reminders and more.
Good for: Idea creation
14. G Suite
In addition to everything you can already get for free from Google for free, including Gmail, Docs, Drive and Slides — G Suite gives you access to additional services designed specifically with businesses in mind, not least the chance for round-the-clock phone and email support.
Good for: Customer service
This creative video sharing platform that allows you to upload and watch high-quality, long-form videos. It's considered to be YouTube's more professional competitor. That said, Vimeo doesn't require vast expertise to use and provides plenty of extra features, including plenty of customisation options.
Good for: Video sharing
With Filestage, your company can make the most of feedback on tasks from internal and external stakeholders alike. The feedback can be detailed and time-stamped and it's a particularly effective method for video.
Good for: Reviewing content
The type of collaboration tool that's best for you depends on many factors, such as the size of your company and your specific communication challenges. Make sure you compare a range of products to find the right fit for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
How have collaboration tool providers responded to the COVID-19 outbreak?
Many software providers have offered some of their products to customers for free. We'd encourage you to check this directly with each provider you compare.
How could my business meet the cost of new tech?
One option to explore might be through a small business loan. Our guide explains some of the finance options and relief for businesses during the pandemic.
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