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April 14, 2011

Collaboration Software: Top Collaboration Apps

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor


Internet-fueled network computing has wrought such profound effects on business communications during the last decade that it’s easy to overlook the continuing innovation in software designed to facilitate collaborative work.

Collaboration software is defined as software that is designed to help people involved in a common task achieve their goals and is usually associated with individuals not physically co-located, but instead working together across an internet connection. It can also include remote access storage systems for archiving common use data files that can be accessed, modified and retrieved by the distributed workgroup members.

Given this, it’s no wonder companies are looking to invest more in collaborative apps that will help employees be more efficient together as a team, not only with instant messaging and e-mail but also within “the cloud.” The cloud utilizes resources from the computers as a collective virtual computer, where the applications can run independently from particular computer or server configurations.

InformationWeek recently reviewed the top 15 cloud collaboration apps and here’s a look at the top 5 on the list.

AtTask

First on the agenda is AtTask, an app that provides a 360-degree view of all workplace activities, helping both team members and management alike to better understand and organize their work. Their recent February release helps companies understand and organize work, providing true visibility for all stakeholders including executives, managers, and team members. Features include TeamHome, a workspace designed for team members to help them understand and organize their work and Stream, a continuous flow of conversational and descriptive updates that deliver greater visibility and a richer understanding of what is really going on with your teams, work and projects.

Cisco (News - Alert) WebEx Connect

Cisco WebEx Connect was also featured on the list, a collaboration software app that integrates key collaboration capabilities such as presence, enterprise-grade instant messaging, audio and video conferencing, VoIP, Cisco IP telephony, and more on a single secure platform. According to InformationWeek, Cisco rolled-out the service internally to 90,000 employees, partners, and contractors in 45 days, as told by Bailey Szeto of Cisco. WebEx Connect is good for reducing communication delays and boosting employee productivity.

Salesforce.com (News - Alert) Chatter

Salesforce.com Chatter, a free app, lets users collaborate, share, and interact via a private, secure network. Updates on people, groups, documents, and your application data come straight to you in real-time feeds, letting users know what’s happening in your company at any time. Features like ChatterExchange allows for the building or modifying of apps to use in Chatter and list them on the AppExchange site while Mobile Desktop allows users to stay active while on the go.

LotusLive Symphony

LotusLive Symphony is a set of collaboration tools in the cloud that allows a company and its customers or colleagues to work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations together. Users can co-edit, organize and manage the creation process in real-time, using LotusLive Symphony's Web-based tools. It incorporates feeds from popular social networks such as Facebook (News - Alert), LinkedIn, and Twitter. The software is due out later this year but can be downloaded as a technical preview from LotusLive Lab.

Microsoft (News - Alert) SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online provides a single, integrated location where employees can efficiently collaborate with team members, share knowledge and find organizational resources and information. It can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, so users can select the right option for their company. Whether deployed on-premises or hosted via an entire platform online, or combined as a hybrid environment, users can access the tools they need to get work done. The software, which is part of Microsoft's Office 365, includes a portal, collaboration and social computing, content management, and search.

As TMCnet reported, corporations are finding that a collaboration solution allows them to hold training sessions more often. All of this is possible at a fraction of the cost of travel and with infinitely more convenience with cloud collaboration software apps.


Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca



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