Cross-functional collaboration is crucial for modern day work. When it comes to high-impact projects, your teams need to be able to connect their work, communications, and goals across departments, org-wide. Collaboration software can support teamwork across your business—but only if you choose the right one. Use this list of the 11 best collaboration software choices in 2023 to determine which one is right for you.
When it comes to complex ideas, projects, and workflows, we’re not meant to work alone. The projects that have the highest impact on your company are rarely the result of one person. More often than not, projects need cross-functional collaboration to be successful—with individuals working across teams, departments, and roles to produce their best work. But even though collaboration is critical for our most important work, coordinating with all these different stakeholders is challenging. That’s where collaboration software comes in.
Collaboration software simplifies cross-functional work. From robust platforms that support enterprise organizations to simple communication tools, the best collaboration software connects work across teams to solve the challenges of cross-functional work.
Collaboration software is a digital tool that helps you connect and work with others. This can happen in basic ways—like on messaging platforms and emails—or by enabling more complex workflows. Different collaboration software will help solve different cross-functional challenges. For example, messaging platforms make it easier to communicate with teams, digital task management helps you organize action items with external partners, and enterprise platforms provide you with a full-fledged, all-in-one work management system.
In its best form, collaboration software lets you do all of the above (and so much more) in one space. Collaboration software should never be another checkbox in the tech stack. The right collaboration tools will help you reduce the amount of apps you need, and should focus on solving the most important problem—how do we connect in a way that helps us to work better, faster, and more efficiently, together.Bekijk Asana in actie
The short answer—yes, especially if you work across teams. Large companies are broken down into departments, teams, and individuals. The most important company initiatives involve team members from different departments bringing their skill sets together to accomplish a goal. Collaboration software helps you do just that—enable individuals from across the organization to work as one unified project team, regardless of which department they’re in.
Even if your work feels completely solitary, you likely still rely on stakeholders for approvals, assignments, or resources. In short, everyone can benefit from collaboration software—whether you’re hosting simple brainstorming sessions or working on highly complex workflows.
Facilitates cross-functional teamwork: These days, no one works alone. Using collaboration software enables every team to work faster, and more efficiently, with other departments across the company.
Enables async work: Software that supports asynchronous work is especially important for large, global organizations.These multifaceted companies need a tool that helps teams communicate and collaborate on projects, even when they’re in different locations or have varying schedules.
Connects distributed teams: In today’s distributed workplace, it’s more important than ever to have a platform where your team can meet across time zones and office locations.
Makes work accessible: Sharing data, projects, and tasks across teams is crucial to collaboration. Software simplifies the storing and sharing of information, so everyone can easily access the resources they need. Plus, a good collaboration tool ensures the information is also shared in-context to ensure people get up to speed quickly.
Protects confidential information: The right collaboration software gives you confidence that your work is safe and secure, even as you collaborate. You should always have the same high level of security—whether your stakeholders are sitting across the room from you, or if you’re working with an external partner.
Displays app information in one place: Switching between different apps and searching for information in different spaces is a huge time waster. Streamlining communication, work, and collaboration in one tool gives you back your most valuable resources—time, brain space, and energy.
There’s no one right collaboration software—there’s only the right one for you. Operating an enterprise business? You’ll need a highly-functional, adaptable platform. But if you only need dynamic docs to exchange ideas, you can use a simpler tool to meet your needs.
No matter your business needs, there’s a collaboration software in this list that will boost your productivity, improve communication, and better connect your teams. Read on to see which software is best for you.
At the enterprise level, you’re operating with hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of employees scattered across time zones. That means you need a fully operative platform that connects every individual, team, piece of work, and goal all back to one another.
Asana has all the collaboration features your enterprise business needs to facilitate and leverage cross-functional collaboration, including:
Team connection: Connect teams, different departments, work tasks, and the company’s largest goals. With Asana, you can centralize your enterprise company to easily collaborate.
Task management: Track and manage tasks across multiple projects. When you make changes to a task in one project, instantly see those changes reflected across all projects in real-time.
Automations: Use automations to standardize and delegate work, build processes, and communicate on your most complex work in real-time.
Integrations: 260+ integrations allow you to build an all-in-one platform. Connect all your favorite tools in one place.
Project management: Asana goes beyond traditional project management tools to include everything you need to oversee, communicate on, and successfully complete complex projects.
Knowledge base: Use Asana as a system of record, so everyone in the company always knows what’s being done and why.
Security: Track permissions, protect cloud storage, and automate updates all within Asana.
Slack is a premier communication tool that has eased reliance on email. Slack offers fast, secure instant messaging, housed within “workspaces.” Customers who love it say it’s user-friendly, and it’s easy to set up specific channels for teams to communicate about different topics, projects, and non-work interests. Their design makes connecting easy and fun, which is especially important for distributed teams.Integrate: See the power of Asana + Slack.
If you've ever labored over a document, only to see that your boss reviewed a different, outdated version, you know why many teams have turned to Google Workspace. The interactive documents give you the flexibility to make edits and suggestions in real-time, reducing errors. Plus, customers say Google Drive’s cloud storage is easy to set up and begin using right away.Integrate: See the power of Asana + Google Workspace.
Trello’s Kanban-board-style interface makes it easy to collaborate on specific tasks. Owned by Atlassian, Trello uses cards that you can nest under different boards to create visual to-do lists. Users say it’s great for individuals, small teams, or simple workflows—though its uses are limited once you need more complex projects and workflows.Comparison: See how Trello compares to this alternative.
Notion makes it easy to communicate and connect on async documents or stored files. This is especially helpful for distributed teams—where you might be editing a doc in one time zone, and receiving feedback from another team member in a totally different time zone. Once you need more complex collaboration tools though—like building out workflows and multi-faceted projects—you might outgrow it.Integrate: See the power of Asana + Notion.
Figma is an interactive collaboration tool built for design teams. Customers enjoy their fun and user-friendly interface for smaller projects—such as a brainstorming whiteboard—and larger ones, like your new site design. The design files are interactive for real-time collaboration, meaning you can make a change and your teammates will instantly see the update—even if they’re working from across the globe.Integrate: See the power of Asana + Figma.
Smartsheet is a dynamic spreadsheet tool with all the functionalities of a static spreadsheet, but users say it’s easier to collaborate with. In Smartsheet, you can connect in spreadsheets without accidentally deleting data or information. This is especially useful for remote teams who might all be working in one spreadsheet simultaneously.Comparison: See how Smartsheet compares to this alternative.
Inter-team collaboration can be challenging, even on small teams. Clickup’s capabilities help with the simpler aspects of project management, such as project planning or tracking project progress—which smaller start-ups or teams claim to be helpful.Comparison: See how Clickup compares to this alternative.
Collaborative work is always important—even when it’s not for your biggest, boldest goals. Monday’s project management software lets you build out projects and streamline task management. But once you get to a point where your company—and by default, your collaboration—needs to grow, you might need additional capabilities.Comparison: See how Monday compares to this alternative.
Video conferencing is no longer a luxury for collaboration—it’s a necessity. Zoom’s intuitive platform—with simple screen sharing and non-intrusive notifications—has made it a leader in video collaboration.Integrate: See the power of Asana + Zoom.
Microsoft Teams is built to connect teams and individuals through video conferencing, online meetings, and messaging. Similar to other offerings on this list, Microsoft Teams enables remote and async collaboration by allowing team members to meet together, no matter where they work.Integrate: See the power of Asana + Microsoft Teams.
The flexibility to work how you want. Whether that's putting tasks in multiple places, viewing projects in multiple ways, or accessing your information from an app, a browser, or your mobile device, your collaboration tool should always work for you, not against you.
Powerful integrations that simplify your work. Your software should make it easy to use your favorite apps. This helps you avoid using too many incompatible tools, which increases the amount of time spent switching between apps and looking for work between platforms.
Customizable dashboards, reporting, goals, and templates—whatever you need to successfully collaborate should be customizable to fit your specific needs.
The ability to use and share files, communicate, and work with team members anywhere in the world.
A mobile app, so you can access your work any time you need.
Work management capabilities that go beyond simple project management, such as complex workflows that integrate with larger company goals—so you always know you’re prioritizing and acting on your most important work.
Top-of-the-line security and privacy features that protect your cloud-based workspaces.
Choosing collaboration software is a unique business decision—and the one that works for others in your industry might not work for you. To narrow down your needs and find software to fit them, start by answering the following:
Which of your complex workflows can be simplified with tech? The answer to this can point you to the type of software you need. For example, let’s say your processes are complex, and you suspect they can be simplified with automation and technology. In this case, you’ll want to choose software that supports process-building and automation.
Where are the gaps in your cross-team work? Work with your stakeholders to identify where your team is struggling to collaborate. For example, is it communication? Then you’ll want to ensure that your collaboration software has robust communication tools and integrations.
What features do you need to do your best work as a team? Do you rely on time tracking to coordinate your work? Are you a global team who needs async communication? Zero in on what features you actually need, so you can avoid any unnecessary (and sometimes distracting) features.
Does this tool integrate with your most important tools? Integrations are the key to simplifying collaboration. When you can do all of your work in one platform, you will be more connected, organized, and thoughtful in how you produce your best work.
Collaboration is the glue that holds your team, their work, and ultimately your company, together. In today’s modern workplace, every team member relies on others to produce their best work. But that doesn’t mean they need to work harder to get there.
The best collaboration software supports the work you’re already doing, adapting to your needs and offering endless opportunities to simplify your work. Asana is designed to support collaboration between enterprise teams. From basic communications all the way to high-level strategy development, Asana’s features have the built-in functionality to foster collaboration on every level.Bekijk Asana in actie
Collaboration software allows teams to work together, even when they’re in different locations or departments. Through messaging capabilities, automations, integrations, workflow builders, and so much more, dynamic collaboration software connects teams to each other and their company’s most important work.
There are different collaboration software examples for different uses. For example, Asana is a popular collaboration software for enterprise companies. Because it offers complex functionalities, integrations, and workflows alongside basic project management features, enterprise companies can use Asana as their central platform for all collaboration.
Any good collaboration tool should allow you to share documents and ideas with each other. At its most basic level, that’s what collaboration is, and so even basic collaboration software should have the built-in ability to share work and communicate with others.
Collaboration software is built for cross-functional work. For example, using a static spreadsheet to collect and report on data might be fine for one individual, but it’s not ideal when teams need to work together to develop reporting across teams or projects.