Nearly all the tools in the marketplaces we cover claim to excel in "collaboration" services. Who could possibly not?
To some extent the vendors are justified, since collaboration has many flavors. For example, enterprises looking to create more collaborative digital environments often ask us if they should use their:
- Existing Document Management tools such as EMC|Documentum, FileNet, or Alfresco
- Portal tools such as WebSphere or Liferay
- Pure-play social collaboration platforms, such as SocialText, Jive, et. al.
Most portal tools now offer many base collaboration features such as Polls, Surveys, Tagging, Blogs, Wikis, Forums, and so forth. Not all of these are new, but together they offer the potential for more dynamic information sharing in the workplace. Additionally some portals such as Oracle WebCenter have the concept of “presence,” enabling employees to see if their colleagues are online — and if so, the capability to start an instant messaging chat. This can be a powerful way to collaborate, particularly if your team members are spread out globally.
Many enterprises, on the other hand, are discovering that collaboration can become an important attribute in effective document management, particularly for more knowledge-intensive, ad-hoc processes. DM platforms still provide audit or other compliance requirements that are not met by the portals collaboration tools. Consequently, the focus of document management collaboration offerings is on secure, shared document authoring and review, usually within a specified workspace or portal.
And your choices are not limited to Portal or Document Management software. You could, for example, use Cloud File Sharing and Sync tools such as Box, Huddle or Workshare.
Finally, you have a number of specialized social and collaboration tools such as Jive Software, SocialText, Telligent,Drupal and many others.
Remember that "collaboration" will take on different meanings in different organizations. For some, it is peer-to-peer, using email and IM; for others it’s WebEx-style collaboration; for some it’s document-intensive collaboration; and for others, business value comes more from social networking. Think about what collaboration means in your context and select the right type of toolset for your requirement. Let us know if we can help.