Online collaboration: Free / low-cost options |

Free and low-cost online collaboration tools for your business


When you need to discuss new ideas, stay organized and keep up to date with communications between departments or with clients, email has its limitations.

Collaboration is a broad concept, and online collaboration tools are embedded in a number of applications―from project management software to enterprise social networks, brainstorming, knowledge sharing and unified communication solutions, to name just a few.

If you’re looking specifically for tools to facilitate project collaboration by sharing tasks, messages and files, check out the applications listed under Online project management tools.

How do online collaboration tools help?

Online collaboration tools offer the following key benefits:

  • The ability to bring new ideas to life with efficient brainstorming
  • Instant communication at a reduced cost, especially for teams working remotely
  • Enhanced productivity
  • Real-time access to information across teams
  • The advantage of promoting innovation and teamwork
  • The ability to capture knowledge and preserve “corporate memory”
  • Enhanced relationships with customers and suppliers

How do online collaboration tools work?

This largely depends on the type of application you’re considering. Enterprise social networks often require nothing more than a username and password to let you post and share information, much as you would on a network like Facebook. Internet video and telephony services typically ask you to download a specific program on your workstation.

Free and low-cost online collaboration tools

If you’re looking for a low-cost or free solution, consider the following cloud-based applications.

Revised July 2017