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20 contemporary enterprise collaboration tools

Innovation in enterprise collaboration software continues unabated, to the point that there are nearly too many to keep track of. Here are 20 interesting new or established players you may not have heard of.

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New applications and services bring numerous innovations to enterprise collaboration

Following up on my , I thought it would be useful to highlight some of the more representative newer entries in terms of the latest in collaborative tools and technologies. It's often hard to keep track of the latest offerings unless they are of the highest profile, so this list is intended to capture the spirit of where we are today in general with collaborative applications.

While most people initially when it comes to enterprise collaboration tools, the focus on only the leaders obscures the wealth of additional options that business have these days. In fact, collaboration remains one of the most interesting and innovative spaces in the Internet startup industry. Why is this important? Bringing effective new collaborative technologies into your business can realize significant benefits. Recent studies have shown that adding the right social or mobile features, for example, can double the level of employee engagement, the in many organizations today.

In the end, considering new collaboration tools that not everyone is yet using can bring differentation from competitors, drive business performance, create a better workplace more likely to retain employees, and help design the future of work in your organization, especially as the workforce is the single biggest investment that most companies make.

The shift to consumer-style collaboration

We've also seen a distinct consumerization of enterprise applications in general, so while a few of the solutions highlighted here are designed for large enterprises, there is a distinct inclination for vendors today to provide lighter weight, very easy to use tools that may not have the full set of enterprise capabilities. This also means they're increasingly sold directly to end-users, meaning you might to run into these tools at work, even if they're not an official selection of the IT department.

So while each of the collaboration applications listed here can be used for business, some of them are less aimed at the traditional enterprise-wide collaboration space, which is already filled with many large mature offerings. Instead, many new entrants are aimed more at workers who crave simple, enjoyable, yet innovative tools to get their daily team work done.

Finally, we can see some commonalities in the latest offerings: They tend to be cloud-based, have better support for , are integrated into the digital world (often much) better, and are typically based on subscription models. While files and documents remain the center of so much enterprise collaboration, many tools enable team conversation and discussion -- often around the aforementioned artifacts -- much more so than the legacy collaboration tools tend to. We're also seeing collaborative project management, crowdsourcing/virtual workforce, business function-focus, and collaboration suites come into the fore as well.

There are 20 tools listed here in total, mostly picked to underscore a particular approach to digital collaboration, but they are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what's available these days. I also provide a brief descrption calling out the unique aspects of each offering.

Start viewing the gallery of 20 contemporary enterprise collaboration tools

Additional Reading:

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Feedbag.io

Easily the lightest weight collaboration tool in this list, Feedbag.io doesn't even require you to log in to get started. This spartan browser-based app allows you to create 'bags' of shared artifacts, add visual comments to them, and enables you to invite others in to view and comment on your collaborative space as well.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Huddle

Huddle sits squarely on the convergence of social collaboration and document collaboration, offering highly secure and easy to use integration tools for teams that work on complex projects with detailed team tasking. Sophisticated mobile clients are available as well.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Smartsheet

Most collaboration tools focus on documents or discussion, but Smartsheet takes a more spreadsheet and project management centered view of collaboration. It has mobile clients, integrates with Box and Dropbox, and even supports mass collaboration with virtual workforces and crowdsourcing.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Tribe Social

Intellum's new Tribe Social is a social collaboration tool for the enterprise that emphasizes workforce efficiency and getting work done. It has mobile clients, support detailed access control levels, and even enables cross-border collaboration with partners and customers, a key use case.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Asana

With the mantra "send tasks, not e-mails", Asana focuses on collaborative task tracking and team time management. It also offers goal management, visualization tools, and mobile clients.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Grovesite

Grovesite has been around for a while and it's rich set of features shows its maturity, including document collaboration, shared project management, and secure online workspaces, but where it stands apart is in its support for collaborative databases.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: OpenScape

Unify's OpenScape product is a new entry in Web collaboration for enterprises. It has Web conferencing, mobile clients, screen sharing, shared whiteboarding, and given that it comes from a unified communications vendor, it supports collaboration through legacy channels such as multi-party video chat.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: MangoApps

A now-well established player in enterprise collaboration, MangoApps has steadily been climbing the charts over the years and offers one of the more credible entries in the space. It sits squarely on the intersection of corporate intranets, social networking, and digital messaging. Designed for the mid-market, MangoApps offers over 50 useful integrations with 3rd party applications.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Good Collaboration Suite

Good's Collaboration Suite emphasizes the company's extensive experience in enterprise mobility to enable access to existing collaborative tools including SharePoint, which has relatively poor mobile support on its own. Not a collaboration platform so much as a collaboration facilitator, Good's experience in security and ease-of-use brings enterprise-ready mobile capabilities to existing collaboration models, especially legacy ones like e-mail, calendaring, and documents.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Intralinks

Intralinks offers team productivity features including workspaces, task automation, and file sharing, but stands out with special features for collaborative process management, dashboarding, and compliance management.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Hashwork

Hashwork is a lightweight collaborative app that lets employee connect and share Twitter-style with co-workers and a company's community of customers and partners.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Co-op

Offering a collaborative activity stream and task tracking, Co-op is a lightweight and easy to use tool that enables shared daily agendas and team status.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Exoplatform

Exoplatform is an open source enterprise social collaboration solution that offers many features including social networks, wikis, file sharing, calendaring, and portals. It supports mobile access, social FAQs, and has localization features useful for companies collaborating in multiple languages.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Bitrix

Offering an almost complete one-stop-shop for enterprise collaboration and intranet features, Bitrix stands apart by offering not only top-notch unified communications but also cloud or on-premises capabilities for social networking, CRM, and just about anything else you might need in terms of file sharing and communication inside a company and to partners and customers.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Blimp

Another entry into the emerging space of collaboration tools for project management, Blimp attempts to raise the bar in the state of the art when it comes to managing complex, structured task management in a team-based environment.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Flow

Yet another entry in collaborative project management, Flow brings extreme ease of use and an elegant approach to shared task tracking and planning for projects.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Wrike

Designed as a work hub for employees, Wrike supports tasks, schedules, ideas, files and discussions, with an emphasis on project management, and has a raft of good integrations with top cloud apps and services.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Moon

Moon is an interesting entry in industry-specific collaboration and management tools. Focused on professional services, Moon offers business planning and reporting, as well as business activity tracking, integrated with collaboration tools designed for both line workers and executives.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Redbooth

Redbooth offers lightweight but full-spectrum and secure collaboration including shared file and content management, task tracking, team discussions, screen sharing, and HD video conferencing. Like many contemporary collaboration tools, it offers a range of integrations with top online services and apps.

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Contemporary Enterprise Collaboration Tools: Bloomfire

Bloomfire specializes knowledge-based collaboration for drive to business results. Like a growing number of collaboration tools they have features that focus on supporting specific business functions including sales, marketing, customer service, end-user support, oboarding, and training.

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