Enterprise collaboration is a broad and growing area of interest in the digital workplace. That’s why so many new social software solutions have emerged in the past few years.

Some enterprise collaboration products are best for messaging and chat, while others are better for document collaboration. Which one is best for your business? The simplest answer is “one your employees will use.”

Social Software Considerations

More specifically, consider security: Does it meet your minimum requirements? Ask about ease of implementation and use.

And then consider its overall impact on workplace productivity. For example, the ability to search chat messages is a huge benefit. Unless you can search for previous conversations as well as create threaded conversations, you may want to opt for another solution.

Slack

Slack offers a solid chat application with helpful customer support. It’s easy to use, stable and a lot of fun, complete with snarky Slackbot commentary. It offers users the ability to create multiple groups or channels as well as the ability to integrate workflows with a myriad number of cloud services.

Slack is the top workplace social software, according to data from Gartner Peer Insights, which offers user reviews and ratings of IT software and services. But be forewarned: It can also be a time suck, offering more watercooler conversation than real watercoolers ever did.

Adobe

Adobe Document Cloud is “a fairly universal product that one must have in their toolbox,” according to one Gartner Peer Insights user.

Last year Adobe and Box partnered to make it easier to work with digital documents. The companies released integrations that connect workflows between Adobe Document Cloud, Adobe Sign and Box’s secure enterprise content collaboration platform.

Google

Earlier this year, Google boosted its collaboration play with two new enterprise-focused services — Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat — as well as new enterprise-grade features for Google Drive.

It split Hangouts, its video and chatting service, into two products and integrated both into Google’s G Suite portfolio of workplace software that includes the Gmail and Calendar apps. It also repositioned Drive to make it more enterprise friendly.

Gartner Peer Insights users like how easy Google products are to implement but caution integration is problematic for companies that plan to continue using Outlook email.

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Atlassian

Atlassian’s HipChat gets good user reviews. “Communication is key is our fast-paced business. Our marketing department works with multiple departments who could be Hipchat makes it feel like they are sitting next to you,” one person wrote on Gartner Peer Insights.

Atlassian also makes JIRA and Confluence. The company recently integrated Trello, the task management provider it bought in January, with all of its solutions.

Microsoft

Microsoft is a big player in the collaboration space, specifically with Yammer and, more recently, Teams — its chat-based workspace in Office 365.

Will Teams (a so-called Slack clone) deal the final blow to Yammer? Some industry experts say “yes.” But others argue the two are fundamentally different.

Armin Kammerlander, an executive at Sideways6, a UK-based employee idea crowdsourcing platform, said Yammer is not the same as Teams. Microsoft Teams is for small groups of people and Yammer is for large groups, he said.

He claims Yammer still has a valuable place in the Microsoft collaboration ecosystem. “Yammer provides value by getting large and diverse groups of people to help and engage with each other,” he said.

Facebook

Facebook boosted its enterprise appeal last month with new integrations to its Workplace enterprise collaboration platform. Workplace now integrates with Microsoft OneDrive and Office, Salesforce CRM, Box, and Quip, a document collaboration application.

Workplace by Facebook looks a lot like its super-popular consumer option. That should make it comfortable for business users to adopt.

But according to Real Story Group (RSG), an Olney, Md.-based research firm, Workplace by Facebook is still in its infancy. It focuses on workplace social-communication and water-cooler conversations.

“Facebook has not yet seriously pursued the path of other vendors in this report, which have focused on building out finished applications on top of activity streams and microblogging, and developing connectors to the rest of the enterprise collaboration stack,” RSG noted.

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Noreen Seebacher is the content evangelist at Arke, where she researches, writes and continues her long career in news reporting as a brand journalist. Noreen lives in Beaufort, South Carolina with her husband, her dog and four formerly homeless cats.