As many companies convert to hybrid and remote work models, digital collaboration tools, such as Airtable, have become increasingly popular to connect employees and centralize corporate communication.
What is Airtable?
Airtable is a project management and collaboration tool that provides teams with a centralized platform to manage projects, customers, and ideas. Though Airtable is highly flexible and customizable, it can be limited in terms of formatting and will require some practice on the user’s part.
Its main features are:
- Project Management to plan projects of all sizes, organize tasks, and analyze work efficiency.
- Document Management to keep all critical company assets in a single, accessible location.
- Integrations with key business applications and software.
The best Airtable alternatives for project management and collaboration
JIRA: Your Report Generator
JIRA products by Atlassian include several project management tools that enable easy organization and prioritization of tasks, which in JIRA speak are called “issues.” Some of the advantages of JIRA include:
- Cloud-based for access anytime, anywhere
- Relatively low cost
- Access to library of native app plug-ins
- Generate reports
- Visually track project progress
- Filter Kanban cards by due date to sift through to the projects that need your attention first
Though JIRA is a more cost-efficient solution, it doesn’t have as many features as some other platforms out there.
Read more about JIRA and how it stacks up against Trello here.
Trello: The Sky’s the Limit with the Free Version
The basic version of Trello by Atlassian is free and there are no limits as to how many users you add or how many collaborative boards you create for your team. With Trello, users can also receive push notifications via text, email, or messaging tool integrations. It’s also quite easy to use, but you won’t be able to generate reports with the free version. If you upgrade to Trello’s Business Class or Enterprise versions, though, you have access to report generation as well as API integrations with Slack, Github, etc.
Read more on Trello here and how it compares to JIRA.
Confluence for Centralized Collaboration
Confluence is yet another product from Atlassian and is a one-stop solution to make all content accessible to everyone. You can create your own dashboards for your projects. Plus, other platforms like Trello can plug into it as well. Confluence also plays a supportive role for JIRA (both are Atlassian products). While JIRA is a hub for “issue” management from start to finish, Confluence gives a broader overview to store and organize information used for the projects you’re undertaking in JIRA. Confluence is available by subscription, on the cloud, or on an in-house server. Confluence works well for teams of any size and makes sure everyone has the most current information.
Asana: Keep calm and manage on
The term “āsana” in Sanskrit means “sitting down” and informs Asana’s approach to handling collaboration with mindful ease. If you’re working in a small team consisting of 15 or fewer members, you may want to check out cloud-based Asana, since its free version includes up to 15 users. Its interface is also user-friendly, so you don’t need to worry about training your team on how to use it. Even if you decide to upgrade, its subscription tiers also fall on the lower-end, making it a cost-efficient collaborative tool. If you’re a Kanban fan, however, Asana may not be the right fit for you and your team, as it’s limited in its Kanban visualization features.
Wrike: Delegate and Conquer
Wrike allows you to track and delegate subtasks and work with interactive Gantt charts in order to achieve your business goals. It features visual reports, facilitates real-time collaboration, and is user friendly. It also allows you to track financials as well as your team’s activity and time spent on particular tasks. If you use other apps, such as Google Drive or Microsoft Excel, they easily integrate into Wrike. Track your project on the go with Wrike’s Apple and Android mobile device app. It is, however, pricier than comparable collaborative tools like JIRA and Asana, but it offers a free 14-day trial.
Read more on Wrike here and how it compares to Asana.
The most important collaboration software features
Most useful collaboration tools will include document management and some task management features, but the best tools will also include some of these options:
- Reporting & Analytics: your business may want to track how time and money is being invested in various projects
- Task Visualization/Management: some software programs allow users to visually track a project’s progress from start to finish in a way that is easy to follow. Some examples include
- Kanban cards
- Gantt charts
- Calendar integration
- App Integration: does the tool play well with others? To build a multi-channel collaboration tool that allows for easy communication and file transfer, other apps, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, should be able to plug into the project management software
- Cloud storage
- Intuitive Interface
See how all five stack up against each other in the chart below:
|Reporting||Task Management||App Integration||Cloud Storage||User Friendly|
Choosing the best Airtable alternative
There are tons of alternatives to Airtable on the market, but if you’re brand new to project management and only have a few team members, Trello may be a good place to start. Its free version contains the most features, so it’s a good, low-risk way to experiment and figure out which are most useful to your business.
However, if you know that your business desires a reporting tool, start with JIRA or Wrike. As you can see in the table above, Wrike is the most feature-rich. It will be more of a financial investment, but Wrike offers a 14-day free trial.
Your unique business needs will ultimately determine which product is best, but this comparison of the big names in digital collaboration is a good starting point.
Want to do more research? Take a look at our top picks for Best Project Management Software with side-by-side comparisons. Alternatively, you might like to try out TechnologyAdvice’s convenient tool to help you figure out which project management software tool is right for your business.