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Are You Sick of Emailing Clunky Attachments Back-and-Forth?

7 tools to work faster & cheaper by collaborating on projects with clients, partners & team members.

Collaboration is a big buzzword right now — for good reason.

Back in the day, it cost thousands of dollars to set up an online collaboration platform, making it cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses. But nowadays, there are plenty of web-based and cloud collaboration tools that make it easier for your employees, partners and clients to share ideas and work together on projects.

After all, email and slideshows don’t always cut it in today’s business world. Sometimes employees, partners and clients need to communicate as if they’re in the same room — from brainstorming sessions to customer presentations. Plus, having to email documents back and forth with tracked changes, multiple versions and a jam-packed cc field can become a painful process.

The ability for teams to collaborate online is becoming increasingly important in the growth and development of a business, especially if you work with remote employees or external partners and clients. Web-based and cloud collaboration tools offer a solution that’s easy to set up and can help boost productivity and even revenues.

Here are just a few collaborative tools that could help your business get more innovative. Click through the links, images or videos to learn more about each tool and what's right for your business needs. 

1. Podio

This collaboration tool allows you to create a “workspace” for colleagues on Podio’s internal communications network. But it’s more than a collaboration tool — Podio has a substantial marketplace of specialized apps for everything from project management to meetings and conferences. You can even invite third parties to join you in specific workspaces without giving them access to your employee network.

2. Bitrix24

This collaboration suite offers social networking, communication and management tools for teams. It’s easy for users to pick up since it looks like a regular social network with a news feed and activity stream, as well as private messaging — although these are related to work. And to boost motivation, managers can hand out “badges” for a job well done.

3. Nutcache

This cloud-based project management system offers everything from time tracking to integrated invoicing. With its collaborative boards, you can invite coworkers and clients to work with you on projects, share comments and documents, track the time spent on specific assignments, and ensure deadlines and budgets stay on track.

4. Redbooth 

Previously known as Teambox, this online tool combines social collaboration with web-based project management. A key feature is shared workspaces, with one central place for everything from discussions to documents and files. And its secure real-time team chat is integrated with workspaces, projects and tasks.

5. Basecamp

This project management platform is ideal for teams that involve remote workers, contractors and freelancers. Team members can securely share and edit documents, provide feedback and track progress to help meet deadlines and successfully complete projects. It's "clientside" feature allows you to share documents and timelines easily with your customers, without exposing any of your internal-only communications. And its mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

6. Intellinote

This collaboration tool is designed for mobile teams, so you can connect and collaborate on projects in real-time, from anywhere. It puts tasks, files, messages, notes and projects in one place, with versions for a variety of verticals from construction to retail.

7. Slack

We profiled Slack previously along with 10 apps to hack your productivity, and it really is a game changer. This tool is similar to a chat room, with channels for conversations across teams, projects and topics. You can communicate in open channels across your team or within private groups and one-to-one messages. You can also share files, images and videos, search across team archives and get notifications from other tools (it offers 80-plus integrations) in one workspace. Think of it like Google Chat, Whats App, Dropbox and your team meetings all rolled into one.

What have we missed? We're always looking for feedback on project management and collaboration tools to feature, so tell us in the comments below.

Vawn Himmelsbach

Vawn Himmelsbach is a freelance writer and editor based in Toronto. She has covered technology and travel for 15 years, for media outlets such as CBCNews.ca, The Globe & Mail, Metro News, ITBusiness, PCworld Canada and Computerworld Canada. She also spent three years living abroad and working as an Asian correspondent.

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