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May 25, 2011

What is Collaboration Software?

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

A decade ago, collaborating on a project with fellow workers or clients meant sitting down together at a desk and pooling resources. In the current marketplace, collaboration relies on technology, not proximity.

Yesterday's static workforce has been replaced by today's next-generation of nomadic workers, who are on the road more than in the office. This change in philosophy created a clear demand for collaboration software, which enables multiple users to stay connected and work together on projects from any location on nearly any device.

Collaboration software combines all of a user's communication needs into a unified package. These solutions allow a decentralized workforce to schedule, communicate and share through a myriad of mediums, including email, shared calendaring, VoIP services, video conferencing, collaborative documents and message boards, among many other platforms.

Collaboration software is essential to today's business world because it enables users to share and communicate with each other across dozens of different end-points, including mobile phones, tablets, desktop PCs, televisions and more.

The benefits of collaboration software are profound. The solutions extend interaction capabilities to anyone with an Internet connection, allowing users to communicate in both synchronous and asynchronous manners, no matter where they are in the world.

With collaboration software, an employee in New York can schedule a meeting with a colleague in San Francisco, work together on a business plan using a shared document, and then present the project to customers in Hong Kong through a video conferencing platform. One employee can participate using the PC, while the other can contribute using their tablet device.

Collaboration software is seeing widespread adoption because it can significantly reduce a company's operating expenses by minimizing the need for business travel. This cost savings is further enhanced by the amalgamative nature of collaboration software. Companies can gain access to a handful of mediums through one software provider, which results in lower per-service costs.

Another clear benefit of collaboration software is its ability to increase productivity and enable workers to respond to requests or events in a swift manner. In addition, it provides organizations with the ability to hire the best employees, not just the ones within 30 miles of their facility.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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