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Products that encourage team collaboration within your business, including providers of collaboration portal software.

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Collaboration - Harvard Business Review

The Economics of Mass Collaboration Featured Guest: Don Tapscott, chairman of nGenera Insight and coauthor of Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and ...

The Unexpected Value of Business Collaboration | Brian Honigman

Jan 7, 2014 ... According to Clinked, 75 percent of businesses say online collaboration tools will be important or somewhat important to their business during ...

What is Collaboration? - AIIM

Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Key features of collaboration tools are:.

Why Collaboration is Key to Business Success - Microsoft

Sep 8, 2013 ... As discussed in an article for The Guardian.com, small businesses stand to gain just as much as large enterprises from collaboration which ...

Business Collaboration - Cisco

Online business collaboration tools help people work together to solve problems, make decisions, and present ideas. Improve business collaboration with Cisco ...

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Six alternative tools for small business collaboration | PCWorld

Aug 6, 2013 ... For small businesses today, there's nothing that can't be done in the cloud. You could plunk down your cash for Basecamp, Yammer, and ...

50 examples of business collaboration - Co-society

ing to develop a new collaboration system that goes beyond the open innovation. It is about the combination of the skills of businesses belonging to very differ-.

Collaboration Rules: Five Reasons Why Collaboration Matters Now ...

Jun 13, 2011 ... By Joshua-Michéle Ross "We need better collaboration. ... Here are several reasons why I believe collaboration in business today is more [...]

Collaboration - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Business[edit]. Collaboration in business can be found both inter- and intra- organization and ranges from the simplicity of a partnership ...

6 Top Picks for Small Business Collaboration Software | CIO

Nov 6, 2013 ... From basic document collaboration to video conferencing and scheduling, these collaboration tools help small businesses connect people and ...

Why Collaboration Is Crucial To Success | Fast Company | Business ...

Jan 2, 2014 ... Cooperating with your competitors might have been counterintuitive years ago, but today it's a necessity for a successful business.

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Collaboration Software


Finding the collaboration suite that will best mobilize your business is a tricky affair. Each one seems to have its advantages and pitfalls.

I have spent the better part of the last 9 years evaluating various solutions for my clients. Over that period of time I have recommended a wide variety of services and developed a methodology for matching a companies needs with the strengths of an existing software or service. In this article I will walk you through my methodology and discuss a few of the better (and more cost-effective solutions).

Hosted or Installed

Collaboration suites have a wide-range of features and choosing one for the wrong reason can be disastrous. Perhaps the most critical aspect of any suite is its usability and ease of deployment. It is in this regard that many of the hosted vendors excel. Hosted collaboration suites (typically web-based) do not suffer from the installation pitfalls that plague many of the larger installed systems. Installed systems, however, have the advantage of integrating with a wider array of existing software packages. I typically recommend hosted solutions but large companies with heavy investment in older technology should consider an installed package.

Some of the best hosted services are:

HyperOffice (www.hyperoffice.com) - Allows quite a bit of customization & provides a wide range of tools. Its support for existing Outlook users is one of the best in the industry and its document management capabilities are unparalleled. If you are a heavy user of the document sharing features, this is the service for you.

WebOffice (www.weboffice.com) - This service was Intranets.com before being bought by Webex and is still very solid. Its interface is clean and it has a solid feature set. Its prices, however are high and its document management features are lacking. I would only use this service if you are in major need of web databases. (HyperOffice has not  released this feature as of the time of this article)

Hosted Exchange Server - there are numerous companies offering to host Exchange. The best one seems to be www.Intermedia.net because they have great support. If you are looking to stick with Exchange this is the service for you.

What are you using the suite for

Unfortunately collaboration software has become sort of a catch-all for a lot of features. It is critical that you decide which features are important to you and choose accordingly. Many companies need a catch-all suite like the ones I mentioned above but some need the specialized support of a highly targeted collaboration package.
Although I can't get into every possible scenario, one such instance is a company looking for an advanced work flow process that can span across multiple facilities. When I was recently faced with such a challenge I first looked to my usual suspects above but, after realizing that the needs were highly specialzed, I ended up recommending documentum, an enterprise-level workflow package that could be customized to their needs.

The cost was considerably higher than any of the previously mentioned suites but the project required a much more advanced feature set and integration with existing software infrastructure. Using documentum we were able to create a custom workflow that ties together inventory, manufacturing, and sales into a concise and simple process.

Take the training

Most providers offer live training or online tools to train yourself. Take the time to avail yourself of these services and your deployment will be much smoother. I highly recommend trying out every aspect of the service yourself before asking your employees, partners or customers to do it. This will save you from major frustration in the future.

Take live training whenever it is available. It may cost a little bit more to get a training session on your product of choice but it pays big dividends as you use the product. When I recently deployed HyperOffice, I signed up for one of their free webinars (which can be found here... it was an eye-opening experience). Additionally I was informed that they had online training videos to teach me how to use each section.

Similarly weboffice directed me to their online university. This was a very nice experience and I would provide a link but they recently removed the direct link from their web site (I was unable to find it during while writing this article).

Documentum and other installed packages offer on-site training and online resources. Ask the vendor for a list of their offerings before purchasing and factor the cost into the price.

Every top-tier vendor has some tools available to get you started. Finding them and taking the time to use them will save you tons of time in the future.
  • In conclusion, choosing a vendor is all about knowing your own needs and desires. Once you have identified these the vendor pretty much picks itself.