Software has solved so many problems around the world: it’s streamlined payroll, it’s made calling a cab as simple as opening an app on your phone, and it’s made global collaboration a real possibility.
But software can’t solve all problems. With all the software available, we still have everyday business struggles. Often they boil down to communication. Let me give you an example.
Schweppes is a Swiss beverage brand that’s best known for its tonic water. It’s a huge international brand, so of course they’d eventually stretch their advertising campaign to Italy.
The Italian campaign ended up being a disaster. It turns out that “tonic water” translates to “toilet water” in Italian.
Yup, Italian supermarkets started stocking drinking drinkable, fizzy, toilet water in a yellow-labeled container.
Of course, Schweppes re-branded and re-marketed, and they ended up being fine in Italy, but this story is really about more than an advertising faux pas. It’s about how devastating miscommunication can be.
Project management isn’t immune to communication blunders. In fact, 57% of projects fail due to a breakdown in communication. But there’s cognitive dissonance about how important communication is; only 26% of project managers say effective team communication is the key to project success.
You can’t have a successful project without successful communication. Period.
I’m all about project management software to improve collaboration and communication. In fact, in recent research about PM software we found that, of businesses that adopted project management software over the past two years, 52% saw a significant improvement in communication across the team. Another large portion said that project management software simply improved communication overall, accounting for a majority of new software adopters.
But project management software can stop short of collaboration functionality; audio or video conferencing, synchronous editing, and document management are not necessarily tenets of the top PM tools.
With that in mind, I’ve rounded up four incredible collaboration software options that are particularly good for project managers. I focused on reviews, contract and contact management, task management, version control, and chat, along with project management functionality when selecting these suggestions. These are listed alphabetically, and not in order of preference.
1. eXo Platform
If you’re an enterprise-level company looking for open-source collaboration software, look no further than eXo Platform. The tool works as a social platform for your business, making communication simple through “content-driven intranets, websites and dashboards.”
- In spite of being an enterprise solution, eXo Platform is simple to learn and use.
- Great for in-house social posts, forums, and chats.
- Stands out as a great Slack alternative.
- eXo is great for traditional PM tools, like task management, forums, and even document management.
- Because eXo is open source, it’s entirely customizable.
- The search function needs significant improvement.
- Too expensive for smaller businesses.
- Your business will need to hire or contract out J2EE-experienced developers to customize eXo if you are dissatisfied with default features.
In my point of view, eXo is a great solution for both social and portal service demand based on its various features. I must say that it just likes a combination of everything from intranet, social network to blog, wiki,… everything in one. Therefore, with eXo, maybe I don’t have to think of any other website since it has covered all what I want and all what I need.
However, yes, everything has two sides, perhaps due to such a rich diversity, its processing speed gets troubles and makes people feel uncomfortable when using. I thought that, eXo now should focus more on refactoring its platform so that it can serve customers better. Having many functions is not yet good, but a quick response at least never causes people get mad.
eXo Platform’s pricing structure is tiered based on users and functionality. It bills annually, and offers significant discounts for companies who choose to get a three-year license over a one-year license. Pricing also adjusts with self-hosted or cloud-hosted options. The cheapest version is for 25 users and self-hosted at $2,400 a year (or $6,120 for three years). The cloud version for 25 users costs $3,600 for one year, or $9,180 for three. Pricing scales up based on users; I recommend checking out the pricing page for details.
If you’re looking for collaboration software with video chat, visual content management, task management, and significant online meeting functionality, check out Moxtra.
- Incredible list of features, including a fully-functional mobile app, approvals, screen recording, voice, document, and video conferences, and task management.
- Lots of great integrations, including Atlassian Jira, Salesforce, Box, QuickBooks, and GitHub.
- Syncs with the Apple Watch.
- Communication tools are powerful enough to unite multiple offices.
- Can get expensive as companies add more users.
- Significant learning curve.
- Navigation can be frustrating in the mobile apps.
- Notifications sometimes remain “unread” even if you’ve seen them.
Our Global agency has offices in 4 locations with employees scattered about three countries. Moxtra has transformed the way we communicate internally and externally. It has allowed us to unify one central location for our employees to live during their work day. Projects that used to take three days are getting done in less than a day. We have moved from using seven different tools to using one. It has eliminated inefficiencies in all aspects of our business from financial to processes. It’s a game changer for our business and essential for our future growth!
Free for individuals and small businesses. The pro version starts at $12 per month per user, and the enterprise edition’s pricing is unlisted.
Samepage is a collaboration software ideal for companies that work with tons of text. You can write and revise documents, keep up with version control, and combine maps, videos, conversations, and files onto one easy-to-use dashboard.
- Samepage offers full functionality and unlimited users to nonprofits for free.
- Excellent for media management; great for companies that work with lots of videos, images, and documents.
- The software has enough functionality to replace popular project management tools like Asana or Trello.
- Full integration with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive.
- Reasonable pricing structure.
- This collaboration software will not work well on older computers, as it’s incredibly memory heavy.
- Notifications settings are difficult to customize and quickly get annoying.
- There is a significant learning curve when getting to know the software.
- There is no way to make bulk changes to permissions settings.
Comments: The overall experience has been great. The interface after taking a few minutes to watch a demo, makes complete sense and it is fairly intuitive as to how one would layout their data in a meaningful sense. The collaborative features are spot on and easy to use, which is great in convincing others to move away from their tired and lacking platform over to something that is overall just better to use.
Pros: Messaging and collaborative features are spot on, with the ability to compartmentalize teams. The ever evolving feature list based on actual user input and demand speaks volumes to the effort that Kerio places into Samepage as a whole.
Cons: I speak as a minority on this one but I would like to see a Samepage app for Windows Mobile in the Windows Store
Free for 25 pages and 5GB of storage. The upgraded “pro” version costs $10 per user per month (or $100 per user per year) and offers substantially more functionality, like activity insights, advanced task management, one terabyte of storage, and unlimited pages.
If you’re a big fan of open-source project management software, you’ll love XWiki. This collaboration software would certainly qualify as an advanced open source option, as it expects users to be able to code to customize it their company’s needs. As the name implies, XWiki acts as an encyclopedia page for all of your business’s knowledge and training information, workspaces, documentation, and blogs.
- XWiki is free and open source collaboration software.
- Outstanding document management; easily find and share your company’s knowledge base.
- Users emphasize that customer support is excellent.
- Scalable from small to enterprise companies.
- Coding knowledge is needed to fully optimize XWiki’s potential.
- The user interface is reminiscent of websites you would have seen in the early ‘00s.
- If used on the intranet, you’ll have to adapt to XWiki (instead of the other way around).
- Set up easily takes a few months.
We were delighted to find XWiki several years ago and the hosted solution has provided a flexible, reliable and cost effective solution for our group’s knowledge and document management needs for over five years. Key has been the ability to mix unstructured and structured data – and the ability to access the structured data quickly through LIVETABLES – 100s and 1,000s of records can be filtered and sorted with no delays.
The security features mean we’ve been able to set up wikis for different parts of the group and control access levels properly.
The platform is accessible enough for those with some amateur coding ability – but the XWiki team has always been there to support and refine our attempts in a professional way. More recently we retained XWiki to develop a tailored Document Management system using the Collaboration Suite. We are really pleased with the results – and the fact that the project was delivered on time and on budget. Over the life of our use the cost will be far better than purchasing other document management systems – and we have a system that fits our specific requirements.
All of this is achieved on a variety of browsers without any material internal IS requirements or costs.
We look forward to continuing our collaboration for many years.
These four options demonstrate just how different each collaboration software can be. For more insights, reviews, and options, I recommend checking out the collaboration software directory.
Have you used any of these tools before? Do you think the reviews are accurate? What collaboration software do you like? Let us know in the comments below!
Want more information about collaboration, communication, and tools that’ll help you succeed with both? Check out: