What is the best collaboration software?  A quick survey of the leading industry software review sites and analyst reports shows a diverging set of favorites. Part of the problem in figuring out what’s the best are variations in how people define collaboration software, or even the act of collaboration itself. We’re offering our top 10 recommendations.

What is Collaboration?

Despite the fact that most of us have a good sense of what collaboration is all about, we may have trouble defining it with much accuracy. In general, the term refers to people working together to accomplish a given task. From there, it gets a bit murkier.  Some view collaboration as a matter of communication, with tools like email and even just the phone being the primary tools used. Others see collaboration as project management or document management. Or, people look at collaboration as a state of mind, a willingness to team up versus going it alone.

Types of Collaboration Software

Another difficulty with evaluating collaboration tools is the variety of solutions available. Some are component-based systems, like Microsoft Office, which enables collaboration through separate applications working as a whole. Others are complete, though few solutions do everything. Most solutions grow out of some original competency. Box, for example, is rooted in file storage. Jira-based collaboration apps are based on ticketing, and so forth.

What the Major Voices Have to Say about the Best Collaboration Software

Gartner placed Box, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox, Axway’s Synplicity and Citrix in the “leader” quadrant of its 2018 collaboration magic quadrant. Tech Radar rated Slack as #1, with Asana and Podio coming in second and third. Capterra’s three most highly rated collaboration software programs were Samepage, Miro and OnBoard. As you can see, there is a range of opinions on this topic.

The Top 10 Collaboration Options

The following are our top picks:

  1. Microsoft Office System – Microsoft’s sheer dominance of the productivity software category puts it on this list. With Azure cloud and SharePoint backstopping the collaborative file sharing, along with collaborative document editing and the video meeting capabilities of Teams, Microsoft is the clear leader in collaboration.
  1. Samepage – This is an award-winning, all-in-one team collaboration tool. It combines team chat and video calling with task management and file sharing. It offers real time document collaboration as well. Samepage enables users to run meetings show tasks and calendars. It also integrates with more than 1,000 other apps.
  1. Miro – This application used to be called “RealtimeBoard.” It boasts 2.5 million users. The tool offers integration with Microsoft, Atlassian (JIRA), Slack, Dropbox and Box.
  1. Slab – Slab is a team wiki and knowledge base. It provides functionality comparable to that of Google Docs, but adds more sophisticated intranet features. It integrates productivity tools like GSuite, Github and Asana.
  1. Slack – Slack is built on a communications core, with a highly-praised mobile edition. It enables direct messages (DMs) as well as the ability to send files to a single person or a group. Users can organize conversations into different channels, e.g. for different projects or subjects. Video calling is also supported.
  2. Visme – This tool was created collaborative online reports, infographics and presentations. It offers analytics, so users can see which presentations and reports result in the highest levels of engagement.
  3. Basecamp – Basecamp takes an “all in one” approach. It includes chat, message boards, to-do lists and centralized document and file storage.
  4. G Suite – Google’s G Suite is able to leverage many powerful companions in the Google portfolio, e.g. Gmail, GDrive, Google Hangouts and so forth. It provides office-like tools for text documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
  5. Wrike – Users consider Wrike more of a project management and scheduling application. This makes it good for bringing teams together to accomplish a set list of tasks collaboratively. Integrations augment its capabilities, e.g. with Microsoft, Google, Dropbox and GitHub.
  1. com – This platform enables users to plan, track and collaborate in a visual interface that is broadly praised in the market. It features drag-and-drop project management and workflow management. It also integrates with Slack, Dropbox, Trello, Google Drive and others.

These are just our picks, out of dozens of alternatives. You have a rich selection of tools for collaboration. The best solution will be one that aligns well with your collaboration needs. For example, if your team is 100% mobile, then mobility is one of your most critical needs. If you’re all about documents, then document workflows will be important, and so forth.