2016

Businesses are always trying to find ways of integrating different tools so employees can do their jobs without learning multiple systems or having to keep track of many different items.

Collaboration tools have become more and more popular in recent years, especially tools that allow teams or employees to work together on various projects efficiently and smoothly. These productivity tools are designed to make sure everyone knows what deadlines are approaching, where the project stands, who is responsible for what task, and how to find the information they need. These collaborations and productivity tools can be used to bring together individuals from around the world, allowing companies to leverage their best employees for a project.

Those businesses that haven’t tried any enterprise-level collaboration and productivity tools may be interested in these eight pieces of software that many expect to be breakout hits in 2016. Even businesses that routinely use these programs may wish to learn about these new tools in case they want to upgrade.

  1. ProWorkflow

ProWorkflow is an online project management tool that allows team members to view the team’s projects, see what tasks have been completed, and look at what work is coming up. The software has real-time messaging, allows users to share files with individuals or with the entire team, and more. In addition to the standard website version, ProWorkflow allows access to projects via tablet and smartphone.

2. EXo Platform

This collaboration software is an open source program that can be modified by users who understand the coding behind it. This allows businesses to customize the platform for their own needs. The standard eXo system allows posting projects, sharing files, creating specific task teams, viewing shared calendars, and more.

3. Switch.co

This website offers a number of different communication tools and ways of collaborating with others, including the ability to integrate the phone system with Office 365 and Google Apps for Work. Employees will be able to use one single business phone number on a number of devices. The calls made from this office phone are secure, and the redundant architecture is designed to handle millions of calls without dropping any. Switch.co also scales with the business and has no software or hardware to deal with. This makes it one of the best methods for integrating productivity software with a business phone system.

4. Zoho Projects

One reason many project managers are turning to Zoho Projects for their online collaboration needs is that it is free. Many small businesses do not have the money to spend on other collaborative programs, making Zoho Projects ideal. It is somewhat customizable and has a number of high-level security features that make certain only authorized personnel have access to certain data.

5. Mavenlink

Mavenlink offers more than just project management—this online tool also provides managers with a way of planning their resources and financial tools to balance their budgets. It is possible for each employee to track the time they spent on each task and to assign budgets for each project, task, and subtask. Everything is integrated with Google Apps for on-the-go syncing, too.

6. Trello

Trello lets users arrange things by boards, which is the app’s term for a project. Managers can then create cards (tasks) within each board and make lists on each card in order to assign work and track its progress. While the terminology may take a bit of getting used to, this collaboration software does feature real-time chat and helps facilitate discussion, even if it lacks some of the other programs’ functionality.

7. Podio

Podio is used by more than 400,000 project managers. It is mainly designed for the small or medium-sized business, has a number of customizable features, and facilities communication through a social media-like setup of status updates and comments. The program also offers reports, communicate monitoring, and a mobile app for viewing work on the go. The program can even be extended to things like CRM or be fully integrated with an existing intranet.

8. WorkFront

Once known as AtTask, WorkFront offers cloud-based work management collaboration where members can easily share ideas, files, and reports in real time. Like Podio, it makes use of a social media-like setup that is intuitive while still offering managers a way of unifying their work processes, track project activities, and share information. WorkFront has several different licensing options for different sized businesses.

These are just eight of the different collaboration tools available for businesses looking to move their project management online. While most of them offer similar functions, some are aimed at small businesses, while other support larger corporations. The licensing costs vary, too, so managers who are contemplating using a collaboration tool in 2016 should shop around to see which one fits their needs the best.