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Grow Your Business Technology

8 Best Apps for Business Collaboration

8 Best Apps for Business Collaboration
Credit: Olga Danylenko/Shutterstock

There is no shortage of choices when it comes to collaboration software for your business. It's essential, as most have moved on from the antiquated method of sending file attachments back and forth or scheduling endless conference calls.

From real-time document editing to synchronous chat, it's time to leap into the 21st century of work. Here's a short guide of some of the most trusted and popular solutions for helping businesses get things done. Each of the options has a trial or limited free version, with upgrades available for the entire feature set.

Most of the working world has moved to Slack. It helps your team stay connected through a series of chat rooms, and throws in a bit of fun with an easy way to add in GIFs. Another key feature is the ability to invite freelancers to your organization, while granting them limited access so they're not privy to all the inner workings of your business.

Google Apps has grown up and is ready for businesses of all sizes. G Suite gets you the standard fare of Google Docs, Drive, Calendar and, of course, Gmail. The company's penchant for search and machine learning can make it a powerful combination, as Cloud Search can suggest what files you should be looking at to start your day.

Microsoft is still a productivity powerhouse, and its suite works well on just about any device thanks to the company's cross-platform strategy. Along with the standard grouping of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, don't overlook OneNote as a powerful tool for sharing notes and other thoughts throughout the team. Also, if Slack doesn't quite work for your company, then check out Microsoft Teams.

While part of the Office 365 family, Skype deserves a special callout here for its business-focused features. You get 60 minutes of international call time with Skype, which can help you connect with clients worldwide. Additionally, group screen sharing and other features in the Skype for Business application can help bridge the divide, as many small companies have an international presence.

While some were calling Evernote a dead elephant, the company is making quite the comeback by ramping up the speed and reliability of its services and overhauling the interface on its mobile platforms. The Evernote Business plan can give your organization a way to manage projects and assignments and to share information in one centralized location that is easy to navigate but also packed with options.

Dropbox is one of today's most popular file-syncing services. For $10 per month, you get 1TB of storage, and the company has proven over time that it can keep files rapidly in sync better than anybody. Dropbox is also wading into the teamwork space with Dropbox Paper, a minimalist and focused collaboration tool that might be the right fit for your organization.

Salesforce's Quip has the real-time collaboration flavor of Google Docs, but it tries to break away from strict focus on documents and spreadsheets, allowing for more free-form work. The entire system is built around conversations and notifications, with cross-platform support so you can even respond to queries from your Apple Watch. And of course, it plays nicely with Salesforce's massive suite of other services.

Box isn't just about file syncing. The company's Notes app is a smart rethink of how members of a business can work together. The service is helpful for consolidating notes across teams and turning all those disparate thoughts into actionable items. In case that specific offering isn't right for your business, Box integrates its services with Microsoft, Google, Salesforce and many other top platforms.

Derek Walter

Derek Walter is a freelance writer in northern California. He is the author of Learning MIT App Inventor and blogs regularly about digital life at The Intersection. Follow him on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Google+.