How to Select the Best Business Collaboration Software

Collaboration tools are deeply intertwined with the way we work. There’s an application for every function imaginable. Hop on Zoom for a conference call. Jump over to Slack, and there’s a channel for everything, from projects to casual chats. Pull up Microsoft Teams or Google Docs to work together on files in real time.

All this choice makes collaboration easy – but not simple. Communication remains one of the biggest barriers at work, despite the plethora of powerful tools at our disposal. In our desire to establish connections, we may inadvertently be drowning the message under the noise of unnecessary emails, meetings, and notifications.

To facilitate truly productive collaboration and prevent complexity, it’s important to choose the right collaboration solution for your goals. We’ll begin with defining what “collaboration software” means.

Three Types of Business Collaboration Software

Collaboration software is an umbrella term. First called “groupware” in the ‘80s, Eric Sall defined it as “any software meant to help people work together effectively”. Sall was the Product Director of Lotus Notes, one of the first collaboration suites and the progenitor of tools such as Office 365 and G Suite. While its general intent has changed little over the decades, collaboration software has undergone significant evolutions to reflect the shifting needs of the modern workplace.

Today’s tools can be loosely assigned into three groups: communication, task management, and content management software. These distinctions will help businesses find a tool that matches their needs.

Communication & Messaging Software

Communication tools enable real-time messaging through dedicated chat channels, voice messages, and video conferencing. Modern apps have integrated productivity features such as file sharing.

Project & Task Management Software

Task management tools allow users to plan, organise, and track workflows in a structured way. Some examples include Trello, Asana, Jira, and ClickUp.

Document & Content Management Software

Document management tools focus on version control and file sharing and distribution. Tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive make sure users have easy access to up-to-date information.

What Do You Look For In A Collaboration Tool?

Type of software is only the first of many factors you’ll have to consider when looking for a collaboration tool. Now that you know what you need, most small to medium businesses will most likely be asking “How do I choose the best collaboration tool?”

Cost & Affordability

At the top of every list is the cost of the software. It can be easy to overshoot your budget by overspending on more tools than you need, or be slapped with higher costs because of hidden charges. Before committing to a contract, ensure your choice is cost-effective and thoroughly review pricing models and subscription plans.

Ease of Use

The best collaboration tools are simple and intuitive. It doesn’t matter if a platform has a hundred features if navigating through them is difficult and clunky. Ease of use is particularly important for small to medium businesses who may not have the resources for extensive onboarding and training programmes.

Ease of Integration

The average employee bounces around 19 applications to get their work done. And the larger a company is, the longer the list. To keep disruptions to a minimum and make the onboarding process as seamless as possible, look for a tool that has native integrations with business critical applications such as your CRM systems, storage systems, and calendar applications.

Security and Compliance

Security is paramount, especially for small and medium businesses who are at increased risk against ransomware and data theft. Your chosen tool should have appropriate safeguards such as encryption, two-factor authentication, and access controls in place to protect sensitive data such as private business chats, proprietary information, and passwords.

Focus Time Capabilities

As the effects of collaboration overload become more apparent, software providers are starting to introduce ways to protect employee focus. For instance, Office 365 allows users to silence Teams and block notifications for a set time. Tools with similar “Focus Time” features can help keep employees safe from wasting focus on unnecessary interactions.

Cross-Platform Support

Being able to access tools on smartphones or tablets can only enhance collaboration. People send emails, check work, add notes on files, and even join conference calls from different devices. Cross-platform support is crucial, especially if you have employees who work remotely or are often off-site, such as your sales team.


Integrating a tool into your workflow takes time, manpower, and money; businesses will want to choose tools they can stick to as they expand or evolve. Tools should be able to handle an increase in number of users, data, and projects without performance dipping. Consequently, businesses should be able to easily pare down without having to jump through hoops to change from one subscription plan to the next.

Customer Support & Training

Assess the level of after-sales support and training provided by your software provider. Helpful customer service will be important, especially for smaller teams who may not have their own dedicated IT team to troubleshoot issues when they arise. Some providers also provide training resources such as tutorials or documentation, which can help reduce the learning curve.

The wealth of collaboration tools available offers businesses numerous ways to streamline work and enhance communication. Yet amidst this abundance, the way to truly productive and effective teamwork is by selecting tools tailored to your organisation’s specific goals and needs.

Are you ready to find the right collaboration tool? Book a free consultation with Evolvit today and we can help you find one that fits your unique requirements.