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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

More about Ben here.

16 responses to “Online Collaboration Tools – We Want Your Recommendations”

  1. David French

    While all of the Office 2.0 components (see http://itredux.com/office-20/database/) contribute to collaboration and many are at the popular price they do not necessarily play well together.

    That said, I have found the Mindmeister mindmapping tool (www.mindmeister.com/) works well for me and my experience with the Personal Brain (www.thebrain.com) leads me to believe that the enterprise version would provide a good linking component for the working documents of any common interest group.

    Google Wave looks to me the most promissing tool for collaboration between active participants especially as plugins for common working documents become available.

    Since you are picking our brains … perhaps a quid pro quo is in order and you will publish your high level conclusions.

  2. andy

    Online collaborating and teaching can work, If you have trust and the right tools.
    I recently tried http://www.showdocument.com – good app for uploading documents and working on them in real-time.
    Most file types are supported and it needs no installation. – andy

  3. Graham Robson

    One criteria not explicitly stated, but possibly implied, is whether the facility should be SaaS i.e. all-in application and hosting (multi-tenant) or if the absence of this criteria opens up the territory for local installs or an MSP solution.

    Perhaps the criteria should also indicate the volume of expected users.

  4. Andrew Filev

    If you have schedules and due dates, try Wrike.com for collaborative project management. It’s not a replacement for Google Docs or Office, rather a very good complement.

  5. Mike-Aaron-Ben-Co

    David – yes, I am sure the high level conclusions will be available.

    Graham – yes, SaaS was the assumption, but we didn’t want to be closed to other solutions that might meet the criteria. The full criteria list hasn’t been shown, only the ones thought to be show-stoppers.

    Further info on users. One scenario is that over time there will be many groups of about 6 or 7 working on related pieces of work. The group members will be widely separated in space (and possibly time), but locally focused on work, data and information. At times some groups will cluster to bring together different units of work relevant to a specific instance of the resource. So this could mean about 30 people interacting online. At other times possibly yearly (as has happened recently) over 300 people will interact – but it is assumed that this would be in the form of a conventional physical workshop/seminar.

    Cheers

  6. Stephen Blyth

    A mix of tools is what you might end up needing, which often raises users heckles as they need to remember different passwords. There’s some good frameworks and lessons about selection of activities, process and tools in Digital Habitats: stewarding technology for communities, see http://technologyforcommunities.com/

    You might be interested in the free webinar I’m running sharing a case study of pilot project by Australian and NZ scientists using free-webased tools for conservation planning. NZDT 2pm Monday 23 Nov. More details at: http://bit.ly/1za3gd

  7. Jeff Fishburn

    Pixetell would be a good one http://www.pixetell.com. It has easy to use multimedia capabilities that combine voice, screen recording, web cam, video, and can include attachments in a secure message viewable with any Web browser. The company just recently released a new version with editing, reuse and added video capabilities http://bit.ly/Tpe2y

  8. Graham Robson

    Stephen – thanks for the clarification and additional info.

    My recommendation in regards to functionality, usability, user adoption, turn-key deployment ease, and a player possible that may not be on your usual suspects list – is ThoughtFarmer. IDEO is a reference customer.

    Possible non-fit may be a min. of 100 user licences (cira $10K), it’s orientated towards an intranet per user license model. It sits on a MS technology stack and is install only.

    At Coherence we looking at setting up an MSP model to enable clients to get the best of both worlds – SaaS qualities like seamless upgrades and dedicated infrastructure resources for security and performance.

  9. Graham Robson

    Regarding issues about multiple apps accounts, I’d recommend OneLog.in – a new offering that provides cloud based SSO.

  10. deelynn

    Check out CollabNet: http://www.collab.net the company behind subversion

  11. Ben Kepes

    Thanks everyone – we’re looking at all your ideas. keep ‘em coming

  12. Priyanka D

    I suggest our project management tool, DeskAway. Its pretty comprehensive with powerful features!

    http://www.deskaway.com

  13. Jagdish

    Hi Ben, I am firm believer in the power of collaboration and what we could achieve collectively. (http://www.slideshare.net/Injoos/cloud-computing-saas-collaboration-collective-team-intelligence-bt-summit-2009).

    Injoos Teamware address all the requirements you have listed and more. Injoos Teamware is a social collaboration platform for businesses and organizations (SAAS + Cloud). We have integrated with Zoho (http://blogs.zoho.com/general/new-zoho-api-partner-injoos) for all the ability to view and edit documents right from the team library. We currently provide unlimited users and multiple sub groups for any organization. Social organizations/NGO/CSOs like WWF, Deepalaya are already on the platform.

    Please give injoos a try at http://www.injoos.com

    All the best in your endeavor!

  14. Surinder Rana

    We use the HyperOffice Collaboration Suite and I sometimes wonder why it isn’t covered more. It is one of the oldest players in the collaboration space (since 1998) and also one of the most comprehensive with tools for messaging (email, Outlook integration), collaboration (workspaces, document management, project management), online meetings and database applications and web forms.

  15. Inis communications

    I think one of the most notable new comers is http://www.networkability.com. They have provided us with a platform that completely changed our project management approach.

    In fact, the combination of features is like having the most powerful Internet Web 2.0 applications at our fingertips.

  16. Alex

    RHUB (http://www.rhubcom.com) is an in-hosted appliance that facilitates online collaboration. It is a simple and user-friendly tool which requires no downloads.