11 Best Collaboration Software for Small Business 2021

Best overall
Microsoft 365
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Email, conferencing, and apps
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Flexible plan choices
Best team messaging
slack logo
Slack
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Robust free plan
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tons of integrations
Best virtual meetings
cisco web ex logo
Webex
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Per-host pricing
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Virtual collaboration tools
Best project management
Easy Projects
Easy Projects
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Many project views
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Lots of storage
Most affordable
The multi-colored logo for Zoho Projects software
Zoho Projects
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Low per-user pricing
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Free training (on some plans)

We’ve all seen the poor use of technology make collaboration harder―texts that should have been phone calls, emails that should have been in-person chats―but technology can also do a lot to make collaboration easier. 

In fact, collaboration software can help your team stay organized, keep in touch, manage projects and assets, and get the benefits of face-to-face interaction over long distances―among other things.

Interested in any of those benefits? So are we, which is why we’ve found the best collaboration software and tools for small business. Here’s the software you need to keep your team cooperative, communicative, and, yes, collaborative. 

Best Collaboration Software for Business 2021

Compare the best collaboration software for business

Brand
Starting price per mo.
Free trial
Software type
Learn more
Microsoft 365$5.00/user1 mo.All-in-one
Slack$0.00/userN/AMessaging
Webex$0.00/host30 daysVideoconferencing
Easy Projects$24.00/user30 daysProject management
Zoho Projects$0.00/user10 daysProject management
Airtable$0.00/user14 daysProject management
Trello$0.00/user14 daysProject management
Backlog$0.00/user30 daysProject management
ProWorkflow$18.00/user14 daysProject management
DeskTime$0.00/user14 daysTime tracking
GoToMeeting$12.00/organizer14 daysVideoconferencing

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Microsoft 365: Best collaboration software

For most businesses, Microsoft 365 makes the best collaboration software.

That’s largely because Microsoft 365 is more a software package or suite, rather than one single tool. All Microsoft 365 Business plans include access to several popular Microsoft apps (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word at minimum) that can help your business create content, share ideas, and analyze data. 

And most plans (all except Apps) also come with business email, cloud storage (a whopping 1 TB), and Microsoft Teams. Teams is Microsoft’s business communication tool. It includes videoconferencing, audio calls, team messaging, and more. In other words, it has everything your team needs to stay in communication―whether your team is spread across a few desks or a few states.

Microsoft 365 software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
Office apps
Email/Teams included
Learn more
Basic$5.00/mo.Excel, PowerPoint, & Word (web and mobile only)Icon Yes  Dark
Standard$12.50/mo.AllIcon Yes  Dark
Premium$20.00/mo.AllIcon Yes  Dark
Apps$8.25/mo.AllIcon No  Dark

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Fortunately, Microsoft 365 comes with competitive pricing on its excellent team collaboration software. For only a few bucks a month, you can get email, Microsoft Teams, file sharing and essential apps. Higher-tier plans get you more apps (like Publisher) and cloud services, and they still have competitive per-user costs.

Oh, and if you’re not sure about Microsoft 365, you can test it out with the generous one-month free trial.

With affordably priced tools for every aspect of collaboration―including apps for communication, creation, and sharing―Microsoft takes the cake as our favorite collaboration software for most businesses. 

Slack: Best team messaging

There’s a good chance you’ve already heard of Slack. That’s because it’s the best team messaging tool out there, making constant communication a breeze.

Slack uses an intuitive interface to make team communication simple. You can create channels (topical chat rooms for group conversations) or send private (and small-group) messages. That makes it easy to get messages to the right people―whether it’s the entire team, just one graphic designer, or your whole company. And Slack threads messages, so you don’t have to worry about conversations getting mixed up with one another.

Slack software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
Integrations
24/7 support
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.10Icon No  Dark
Standard$6.67–$8.00/mo.UnlimitedIcon No  Dark
Plus$12.50–$15.00/mo.UnlimitedIcon Yes  Dark
Enterprise GridUnlistedUnlimitedIcon Yes  Dark

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Slack also offers basic videoconferencing and audio calling (for groups of up to 15), so you don’t have to rely just on the written word to communicate. Plus, Slack integrates with tons of other software―from productivity software to video conferencing software to social media―to help you move seamlessly between messaging and other kinds of collaboration.

Put simply, there’s a reason Slack is so popular with businesses of all sizes. For team communication (especially instant messaging), Slack offers the best software solution.

Webex: Best for virtual meetings

Sometimes messaging and email aren’t enough for effective collaboration―you need to see faces. In that case, we recommend Webex for all your virtual meeting needs. 

Webex offers a video conferencing platform. But there’s more to it than just a simple video tool. Webex includes plenty of features that make it a great collaboration solution. You get essential video conferencing features like screen sharing, chat, and polling. But Webex also gives you more advanced communication features, like virtual whiteboards and breakout meeting rooms, standard with all plans.

Webex software pricing

Plan
Cost per host (annual billing)
Max. hosts
Max. meeting participants
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.1100
Starter$13.50–$14.95/mo.50150
Business$26.95–$29.95/mo.100200
EnterpriseUnlistedUnlimited100,000

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

And speaking of plans, we should mention that Webex uses a per-host pricing model―not per-participant. That alone can save your business money on video conferencing costs. But Webex also has a very solid free plan (as we said, it includes even more advanced collaboration features) that will work well for many businesses.

Between affordable pricing and helpful virtual collaboration features, Webex’s video conferencing is an essential communication tool for business.

Easy Projects: Best project management

Need help collaborating on big projects? Then check out Easy Projects, an excellent project management software.

Easy Projects gives you pretty much every tool your team needs to successfully track and complete projects. It starts with a variety of project views (including a Kanan board, Gantt chart, due date calendar, and more). From there, you get useful features like time tracking and project cost management.

Easy Projects software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
Storage
Project billing
Learn more
Team$24.00/mo.100 GBIcon No  Dark
EnterpriseUnlisted1 TBIcon No  Dark
Team Professional ServicesUnlisted100 GBIcon Yes  Dark
Enterprise Professional ServicesUnlisted1 TBIcon Yes  Dark

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Throw in reporting, a time-off calendar, file sharing, and tons of integrations, and you’ve got the perfect software for helping your team communicate about what needs to be done, when it has to be done by, and who needs to do it. With higher-tier plans, you can even get billing and advanced analytics―not to mention larger amounts of file storage.

It all adds up to make Easy Projects an ideal collaborative tool for managing your business’s projects.

Zoho Projects: Most affordable

If you want to foster collaboration on a budget, then you need to see Zoho Projects―a highly affordable project management software.

Like Easy Projects, Zoho Projects has been designed as a project collaboration tool. Now, Zoho Projects isn’t nearly as feature-rich as Easy Projects is―but it’s way, way cheaper. Zoho Projects offers a free plan for small teams, and its paid plans all come in under $10 per user per month. That’s really, really affordable for project management software.

Zoho Projects software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
Users
Projects
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.32
Standard$2.50–$3.00/mo.6–1010
Express$3.00–$4.00/mo.12–50Unlimited
Premium$4.00–$5.00/mo.15–100Unlimited
Enterprise$5.00–$6.00/mo.20+Unlimited

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

And Zoho Projects still gives you the most essential project and task management tools. You get some cloud storage for file sharing, tasks and subtasks for breaking down big projects, and even project templates to help you get started. More advanced plans also include features like time sheets, budgeting, and even free training to help you get the most out of Zoho Projects.

So while Zoho Projects may not be the most powerful project collaboration app out there, its highly affordable platform is well worth considering.

Honorable mentions

Airtable: Best for document management

Airtable is another project management software―one that works very well for content creation and document management, specifically.

Airtable software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
Revision history
Records per base
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.2 wks.1,200
Plus$10.00–$12.00/mo.6 mos.5,000
Pro$20.00–$24.00/mo.1 yr.50,000
EnterpriseUnlisted3 yrs.Unlisted

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Airtable offers file sharing, link sharing, due dates, and more―all project management essentials. But what makes Airtable truly great for document management is the revision history. You can see how a project stood weeks, months, or years ago (depending on your plan). So you can track changes in your content, see previous versions, and more. (We use Airtable here at Business.org.) 

You also get plenty of labelling and tagging features, personalized views for team members, and more. In other words, Airtable gives you all you need to manage documents with your entire team.

Trello: Most user-friendly

Another project management platform, Trello doesn’t have the most amazing features or lowest prices―but it’s ridiculously easy to use.

Trello software pricing

Plan
Cost per mo.
Max. boards
Power-ups
Learn more
Free$0.00/mo.101
Business Class$9.99–$12.50/mo.UnlimitedUnlimited
Enterprise$7.38–$17.50/mo.UnlimitedUnlimited

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Trello mostly works as a drag-and-drop Kanban board. That means you create cards for projects, which then get displayed in columns by status and priority. The most important information is always front-and-center, and you can get more details by looking at individual cards. And if you need inspiration to get started, Trello offers loads (and loads!) of templates for all sorts of projects and uses.

Your team can get comfortable with the Trello platform in mere minutes―making it one of the most user-friendly collaborative tools out there.

Backlog: Best for software development

Backlog’s collaboration software has been designed specifically as a project management tool for software development.

Backlog software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
No. of users/projects
File space
Learn more
Free$0.00/user/mo.$0.00/user/yr.10/1100 MB
Starter$35.00/mo.$350.00/yr.30/51 GB
Standard$100.00/mo.$1,000.00/yr.Unlimited/10030 GB
Premium$175.00/mo.$1,750.00/yr.Unlimited/Unlimited100 GB

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

While Backlog gives you all the normal project management features (like file sharing, task management, and different project views), it also includes software-specific features too. It offers bug tracking tools, for example, that let your team find, prioritize, and fix software bugs. Backlog also includes version control tools, so you can keep your entire team on the same page, version-wise.

Businesses in other industries may not get as much value from Backlog. But for software developers, Backlog has what it takes to be your next team collaboration tool.

ProWorkflow: Best reporting tools

Reporting can give you an accurate look at your workflow and help improve team collaboration―and reporting is just what ProWorkflow excels at.

ProWorkflow software pricing

Plan
Cost per user
No. of users
File space
Learn more
Professional$18.00–$20.00/mo.Unlimited25 GB
Advanced$27.00–$30.00/mo.5 min.50 GB

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Sure, lots of collaboration software comes with some kind of basic reporting and analytics. But ProWorkflow’s project management software lets you make reports work for you. It includes both default and customizable reports, so you can see the data that you care about. You can look at data about projects, time management, finances, individual team members, and more. You can keep reports private or share them with the team.

In other words, ProWorkflow gives you the hard data you need to make decisions about how to adjust your workflow and collaborative efforts.

DeskTime: Best time tracking

One hard part of online collaboration? Making sure people are doing what they’re supposed to. That’s where DeskTime comes in.

DeskTime software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. users
Learn more
Lite$0.00/user/mo.$0.00/user/mo.1
Pro$3.85–$6.00/user/mo.$4.20–$7.00/user/mo.Unlimited
Premium$5.01–$8.00/user/mo.$5.46–$9.00/user/mo.Unlimited
Enterprise$7.70–$12.00/user/mo.$8.40–$14.00/user/mo.Unlimited

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

DeskTime offers time tracking for both projects and team members. So you can use it to verify that team members are spending time on the correct projects, staying productive, and getting tasks done. Some plans even let you use your time tracking data to create and send invoices to clients. 

But even if the data is just for your use, DeskTime’s time tracking platform offers a simple way to measure collaboration and productivity.

GoToMeeting: Best for big meetings

One hard part of online collaboration? Making sure people are doing what they’re supposed to. That’s where DeskTime comes in.

GoToMeeting software pricing

Plan
Cost per organizer
Max. participants
Drawing tools
Learn more
Professional$12.00–$14.00/mo.150Icon No  Dark
Business$16.00–$19.00/mo.250Icon Yes  Dark
EnterpriseUnlisted3,000Icon Yes  Dark

Data effective 1/25/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

That’s because GoToMeeting offers larger meeting sizes for less money per organizer than Webex does. All meetings come with unlimited time (so you’ll never get booted) and as many big meetings as you want. And higher-tier plans get advanced collaborative tools, like drawing tools and mouse and keyboard sharing.

So while GoToMeeting doesn't include all the collaboration features Webex does by default, GoToMeeting offers a good alternative for when you want the entire team or company to get together.

Collaboration software FAQ

What is the most popular workplace collaboration software?

Workplace collaboration software can include so many types of software that it's hard to know what’s most popular. 

But popular workplace collaboration software includes communication tools (like Slack, Webex, and Zoom), project management tools (like Easy Projects, Zoho Projects, and Asana), and other productivity and collaboration tools (like Microsoft 365 and DeskTime).

What are examples of online workplace collaboration?

Online workplace collaboration can take many forms. For example, you might collaborate in ways like these:

  • Instant messaging questions about projects
  • Video conferencing with a virtual whiteboard to brainstorm new ideas
  • Sharing files via an online storage system
  • Assigning and monitoring projects through project management software
  • Tracking, revising, and merging different versions of software or documents 

And those are just a few ideas. There are many other ways to collaborate with your team online with the help of business collaboration software.

How can software improve workplace collaboration?

Software can help with collaboration in several ways. 

For example, communication software can help remote and distributed teams to quickly and efficiently communicate (through instant messaging and video conferencing, for example). 

Project management can keep your team on the same page about what tasks are priorities, what version of a project is the current one, and who’s responsible for what role. 

Collaborative software can also streamline things like file sharing, archive organization, knowledge sharing, cost management, invoicing, and more.

The takeaway

With the right collaboration platform, you can help your business stay connected, creative, and productive. 

The best online collaboration tool for your team will depend on your business’s specific needs―whether you want to focus more on communication, project management, productivity, or all three―but our rankings above include great options for all sorts of businesses and needs.  

So whether you choose Microsoft 365 as an all-purpose collaboration solution or Backlog for an industry-specific tool, we hope you see improved collaboration in no time.

Now that you’ve got your workforce collaborating better, work on managing it better with the best employee management software.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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