What is a Collaborative Tool/Software
A collaborative tool or software is a tool that allows a business and its employees to “collaborate” when they are working together. These systems allow multiple employees to work on projects together and manage things like what work is completed by whom and when it is to be done. In basic terms, it is a tool that allows you to reduce wastage of time and effort and efficiently manage work so that everything runs smoothly. A good example of this would be if a digital marketing firm allocates 4 Work-From-Home employees to a client’s social media. Now, if these employees use a collaborative tool that suits their needs, they can manage tasks and timings in a manner such that everyone can see what work is done and when the rest needs to be done making things a lot easier.
These tools are amazing for all types of business but seem to be the most helpful to startups in terms of productivity. This is because startups are new in their respective industries and don’t have custom or expensive software tailor-made for their business and workflow. Thus, when it comes to collaborating work and getting the most out of company time, collaborative tools like Google workspace are a major bonus at an affordable price.
Our Top 6 Collaborative Tools
1) Zoho Workplace
Marketed heavily as an alternative for Google Workspace, Zoho Workplace is one of our favourite collaborative tools of this bunch. They boast an impressive 15 million e-mail users and are an Indian MNC that has been around for the past 25 years.
As to why you should use it, Zoho boasts some features above and beyond the competition such as MME encryption, a dedicated mail engine and much more. They have a bit of a normal-looking interface but most items are easily accessible and simple making it great for startups.
- Priced at ₹99 per user annually
- Provides access to Zoho Mail, WorkDrive, Office Suite and Cliq
- 30 GB Mail storage per user
- Can send huge attachments up to 500MB
- Priced at ₹399 per user billed annually
- All features of Standard are included in this
- Also provides access to Zoho Meeting, Connect and ShowTime
- 100 Gb Mail storage per user
- Can send huge attachments up to 1 GB
3. Mail only plan
- Priced at ₹58.33 per user billed annually
- Provides access to only mail and Calendar
- For basic mail only usage required by employees
- Zoho Workplace allows Unlimited Users to be on a company account which is not a common feature
- It offers a large mail attachment limit of up to 1 GB
- Offers alternatives to major apps like Zoho Meeting as an alternative to Zoom and Google Meet
- Zoho mail is a tried and tested service with good reviews and an extensive Control Panel offering many features like group accounts, privileges, etc.
- Is cheaper than most major competitors like Google Workspace
- Zoho Workplace is majorly focused in India as of now and has yet to make a large name for itself internationally.
- Some users claim that the Email client of Zoho Mail is a bit outdated and slow making it “annoying: at times
Slack is a peppy collaborative tool that aims at boosting teamwork and the overall synchronization of things in a business. Slack is said to be “One platform for your team and your work” which means that this is the only platform any start-up will need to work at its peak efficiency.
Slack basically works through making channels. Channels are basically an alternative for e-mails reducing the hassle and confusion created via e-mail conversations. These channels allow you to get together a group of people required for a certain project or goal. Because of this, teamwork and communication between teams become much easier and simplified.
Pricing Plans of Slack
- This plan is free of cost and is meant for small teams wanting to try out Slack
- Provides integration with many other services such as Google Drive.
- Allows 1 -1 Voice & Video calls between the team
- Provides 5 Gb File Storage in total
- This plan costs $2.67 per month and is meant for small and medium-sized businesses
- All features of the free plan are included
- Provides 10Gb file Storage per member
- Allows for external collaboration with other organizations
- This plan costs $5 per month and is meant for large businesses
- All features of the standard plan are included
- Around the clock assistance with a 4-hour response time assured by Slack
- Provides 20Gb file Storage per member
- An Unlimited number of general channels can be opened
4. Enterprise Grid
- This plan is made for Large scale businesses with support for up to 500,000 users
- All the above features are provided with many more such as priority support and unlimited workspaces.
- Pricing for this plan isn’t set
- Channels are very useful and making team communication easy and hassle-free
- A 24/7 Customer Support team is always present to help businesses out with using Slack
- Slack perfectly integrates with many other software such as Google Drive, Microsoft Office, etc.
- Has a free plan that allows new start-ups to try out using Slack without having to bear any expenses.
- Is used by many large companies such as Vodafone, Trivago, Treebo, etc.
- Some people might find the multiple plans confusing as in which features they need and which they don’t
Samepage facilitates communication, meetings, project managing, online video conferencing, task flow management, workflow, and more. They do this by combining multiple communication aspects like real-time texting, video conferencing and more to create an online workspace that is fast and efficient for teams.
- This Plan is free of cost and is meant for small groups and individual usage
- Offers 2 GB of Cloud Storage
- Provides most basic features in regards to document sharing but nothing advanced such as document edit history
- This Plan costs $7.50 per license every month and is meant for small to medium teams who require some advanced features
- Offers 1 TB of Cloud Storage
- Provides In-app support to clients
- Provides some more advanced features such as an admin “god mode” which allows them to edit and manage any and all files on their workspace
- This Plan costs $9 per license every month and is perfect for large organizations and companies who need an array of features for large-scale operations.
- Offers 1 TB of Cloud storage per user
- Provides all features of previous plans
- Provides priority customer support
- Has a free plan that allows you to test out the features without any financial boundings
- Is supported on all platforms ranging from iOS to Windows so that it is very convenient to use
- Does not provide a custom mail client or any mail support like many of the competitors do.
- The pricing is also a bit higher than the other Collaborative tools on this list
While it performs the same tasks, unlike the others here, Creately takes a bit of a different approach to collaborative teamwork. Creately is more of a “Visual Workspace” as compared to a cloud or online workspace. This means that it relies highly on the visual appeal and aesthetic of documents and workspaces to get points across. It boasts many canvases and templates making it both uplifting and surprisingly useful for team projects.
The company is also one of the leaders in this market and is trusted by over 5 million people around the world. Some major companies that use Creately are NASA, Netflix, Intel, Nat Geo and many more huge names around the world.
- This plan is free and is meant for small teams who want to test out Creately
- You can only make up to 3 documents with this plan
- A maximum of 5 collaborators can access a document simultaneously
- There is no dedicated support and you must raise questions in the community for any help
- This plan costs $4.95 per month and is meant for usage if you have a larger project which needs sophisticated work done
- You can make an unlimited number of documents and folders with this plan
- Provides access to all templates and shapes
- Email-only Support is provided
- Prices for this plan start at $6 per user per month and it is primarily for larger businesses and teams to use regularly
- All the features of the Personal plan are provided in this plan as well
- Priority support is provided to users of this plan
- There is the option of having an admin for oversight and management which is not a feature in the lower plans
- This plan is meant for the largest of enterprises and prices are custom according to need and usage requirements
- All features of the Team plan are provided
- Advanced admin systems along with sub-teams are possible with this plan
- Creately adapts to multiple workspaces and can be integrated with many other software such as Office 365
- The visual take on teamwork makes work much more easy and efficient boosting productivity without the monotonous aesthetic of other tools
- Creately comes in-built with thousands of templates making it easy to find the perfect one for whatever you need
- Is one of the most trusted Collaborative Tools in the world
- The visual aspect of Creately may be a bit difficult to understand for people who are used to using simpler software as it is quite different from the industry norm
- The site and interface may also be a little difficult to navigate through
5) Google Workspace
Google is definitely one of the leaders in many markets and Collaborative tools are also something that it aims to capture. Google Workspace combines many Google services under one platform to provide a solution for any and all problems that a business may have. One of the most trusted, this service covers everything ranging from mail and cloud storage to a website builder and more.
1. Business Starter
- This plan is priced at ₹125 per user per month
- Provides a custom and secure email for your business
- Up to 100 people video calls are possible
- 30 GB of cloud storage is provided per user on this plan
2. Business Standard
- This plan is priced at ₹672 per user per month
- Provides all the benefits of the above plan
- Up to 150 people on a single video call along with the function of recording are available
- 2 TB of cloud storage is available per user
3. Business Plus
- This plan is priced at ₹1260 per user per month
- All the features of the above plans are provided in this plan as well
- Along with 250 people on a video conference and recording, this plan also offers the feature of attendance tracking
- 5 TB of cloud storage is available per user
- This plan is meant for the largest of enterprises and prices are custom depending on the users and requirements.
- All features of the above plans are provided
- Unlimited storage is provided
- Enhanced customer support is provided
- Every single pricing plan includes all of Google’s business software such as drive, forms, currents, etc.
- Since all software are tailor-made by Google and at the top of their markets, integration is perfect and seamless
- Google is a company you can trust with your information
- Pricing overall is quite a bit higher than the competition
- Some features such as Chrome Enterprise aren’t included and must be purchased as add-ons
Trusted by companies like Dell and Volkswagen, Miro may be the last on our list but it is not the least. The company has more than 15 million users worldwide and is a perfect solution for any start-up in need. Providing integration, an infinite visual canvas, high-level encryption and more, Miro has everything you will need to complete task after task without any hassle at all.
Miro provides an innovative mix of both visual and old-school methods of collaboration. There are canvas and templates that teams can use to pan out tasks while following the original video or voice calling methods to communicate. This leads to a seamless flow of information that is easy to understand and reduces mistakes.
- This plan is free of charge and can be used to test out Miro and its features
- An unlimited number of users are allowed
- 3 editable boards are provided
- Most pre-made templates can be used by users in this plan
- This plan is priced at $8 per user billed annually
- Provides all the benefits of the above plan
- An unlimited number of boards can be created and used
- Video chatting facilities are provided in this plan
- This plan is priced at $16 per member billed annually
- Provides all the benefits of the above plans
- Is meant for teams larger than 20 people and provides full functionality and SSO (Single Sign-On)
- Allows 20+ team members to exist simultaneously
- This plan is meant for companies seeking enterprise-grade workflows and is custom priced according to requirements
- All features of the above plans are provided
- Premium customer support is available for enterprise plan members
- Advanced security features are provided such as domain allowlisting
- All Pricing Plans allow an unlimited number of users so that larger teams aren’t limited
- The visual aspect combined in Miro makes it very complex but easy at the same time for a smooth flow of information across teams
- Infinite Canvases make it easy to handle large projects with large teams as well
- While users may be unlimited, the free plan only allows unlimited users as viewers meaning they can make any changes to documents
- Miro is not well integrated with Google software such as Drive or Forms
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