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Last updated: Feb 17, 2017
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A Buyer's Guide to Project Collaboration SolutionsCollaboration Management Software Buyer’s Guide
Oftentimes, we hear the word “collaboration” or “collaborate” as a push-word from our boss to complete a project that is time-bounded and budget-constraint. And there are times when we are instructed to use the “collaboration software” to work on with the rest of the team members. Basically, if the intention is to communicate, share information, work together on that information, and have coordination of efforts; that’s about collaboration.
Ever heard of collaborative project management? Well, if it’s about planning, coordinating, controlling, and monitoring projects across departments, corporate, and even international boundaries, collaborative project management is the method being employed. But remember that collaboration extends from internal employees up to suppliers, partners, and customers. On this Buyer’s Guide, which we from ITQlick.com have collaborated to publish, we will give you a more sound understanding of collaboration and what tools or solutions are available in the market today that can help achieve total collaboration in your organization.
On this hierarchy of collaboration tools, you will be able to discover more on how collaboration really happens in an organization. These are the types of collaboration tools that can be used either as stand-alone or in combination with other tools. Let’s have a round of understanding each of them.
Day-in, day-out, we use email. It’s the most basic tool for communication. With Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook helping us to send email to someone on the other office or thousands of miles away, collaboration can takes place.
Instant Messaging (IM)
Admit it or not, Skype is installed on one of your gadgets. At work or at home, we are comfortable with sending and receiving short messages instantly. If the aim is to accomplish something, IM is definitely a collaboration tool.
Forum sites are best examples of this. It’s a many-to-many type of communication and it is helpful especially on discussion about niche topics.
Every company that is ISO certified have this system in place. Using standard formats, control numbers, and file archiving procedure, a document management system promotes collaboration within an organization on a higher level.
Project Management Software
Ask a company’s Project Management Office (PMO) about the software they’re using and they will have an answer on that. Working on projects and tasks involves setting of milestones, allocation of resources, and monitoring of progress. With software that helps in executing them all, collaboration among project managers can be guaranteed.
SharePoint is the classic example of a collaboration tool that runs on intranets. In the form of web pages, a defined number of users will be able to view and access documents, event calendars, corporate news, and other information that management publishes therein.
Yes, these are the social networking sites (SNS). If it’s about communication, file sharing, marketing, and networking, SNS is a complete collaboration tool. SNS is a people-centric solution that focuses on human interactions and is designed to make these interactions more productive.
A CRM Workflow manages the information that occurs during the entire customer life cycle. Business transactions that undergo different stages are best managed and analyzed with the aid of workflow systems. These systems are advanced collaborative tools.
Multiple collaboration tools integrated as one solution can increase the overall efficiency of business operation. Project teams working with internal departments, customers, suppliers and external collaborators would be more productive when they are using collaboration software. When managing and tracking multiple projects online, creating, storing and maintaining all your documents in a centralized location is critically important. Collaboration suites are business solutions appropriate when working in small project groups, collaborative networks, extended parties, or global alliances.
The options for collaboration tools are many and you need to be both realistic and imaginative in choosing the right solution. You need to examine the features each of these tools has to offer. Here are the important features to consider when putting collaboration software solutions under the lens.
Every tag price can still be negotiated, if necessary. Check the price if it is reasonable enough by going through the list of other features.
In a multi-national company, employees collaborating on different time zones is a normal situation to see. Software that could provide real-time collaboration on this kind of work environment must be deployed. If its collaboration, it needs to be real-time.
Ease of Setup
Whether it’s an enterprise solution or cloud-based solution, the “easy” word must always be present, for at least on some of the deployment activities. Given the time and resources, determine which of the solutions can be easily deployed into your business.
Ease of Use
Training the users of a system requires time. Go over the installation or configuration guide if they are available and find out how much time and efforts are you going to spend.
Central Document Storage
Technically, IT guys would want to know the size, speed, and interface models – features of the storage system. On the lighter side, future users want easy access, save different file formats, and access via their mobile devices. Check these features to make sure that the document storage will work base on your team’s expectations.
Structured Conversation and Archiving
As soon as collaboration in the form of conversations achieved their purpose, they shall be collected and saved in the storage system. However, there must be some sort of structural archiving – grouping per project, topic, or team names. This will help future project owners and collaborators in easily retrieving these conversations and then use them to support decision-makings.
Support for Relationships
This can be referred to as the social collaboration features. These are features that strengthen the people-centric aspect of the collaboration solution. Sharing of personal background and information through document-centric tools helps more human interaction, thus leads to better collaboration.
Solutions per Business Size, per Vendor
The market for collaborative software solutions is mainly consisting of two major segments. They are the client-server and the web-based. The most notable client-server solutions are Adobe LiveCycle, Alfresco, IBM Lotus Connections Suite, Microsoft Exchange Server, Oracle Web Center, and TeamWox. Web-based solutions are Atlassian Confluence, eXo Platform, Google Drive, LogicalDOC, Microsoft Windows Live, and TrackerSuite.Net. For enterprise social collaboration software, the top vendors in this sector are IBM, Jive, Communispace, Yammer, Newsgator, and Vmware.
Many companies prefer cloud-based collaboration software solution than the client-server or on-premise type. One of the known reasons is that cloud-based software product is suitable for distributed networks of remote teams, customers and partners. Below are more cloud-based collaboration solutions and their basic features.
Zohooffers a suite of online productivity and collaboration applications.
Podiois an online work platform for users to create workspaces and collaborate.
Google Appsis an online productivity suite that offers low-cost but full-featured resource for project collaboration.
Flowis a task management tool with real-time collaboration features.
Basecamphelps you keep all your projects, data and people in one location.
Cost of subscription-based software solution starts from less than $5. There can be a big difference between cloud-based and on-premise primarily because the later includes implementation and maintenance cost. But still, many vendors offer pricing flexibility.
A great way to deal with pricing is to directly inquire with the solution provider. There are companies whose expertise revolves around recommending software solutions base on the client’s budget. One of them is we at ITQlick.com. Tell us you pricing concerns on collaboration software solution and we are here to assist you on that.
Here are the things that are going to happen in the next couple of years in the collaboration software industry. Starting this year until 2016, the sales of social collaboration software products will grow by more than 40% annually. The projection for the enterprise social software market is that it will rise to $4.5 billion over the next three years.
The cloud-based collaboration software solution will be the choice of many organizations because of its huge impact to office productivity.
But despite of these trends, we should not stop looking for better opportunities to enhance collaboration in the workplace. Organizations must be proactive when seeking for better solutions in order to bring their business on top of the competition. Ask questions, raise the bar, explore more possibilities – find the right collaboration solution for your business.
ITQlick chart - 2017 best Project Collaboration Software
Finding the right Project Collaboration software for your business
Proper Project Collaboration software selections are the precursor to successful deployment and business growth. Finding the right Project Collaboration solutions doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take days or weeks of your time.
After researching over 2,000 systems, we can identify the best solution for companies of all shapes and sizes. ITQlick.com is 100% free for software buyers.
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