Collaboration Software — Maximizing the Value of Working Together

What You’ll Learn

-What is Collaboration software?

-Different types and classifications of Collaboration software

-Benefits you can reap with Collaboration software

Collaboration software is another, fancier, name for groupware, which is distinguished by its ability to help people work together more smoothly and with better results. Common types of Collaboration software include email, chat, FAX, electronic calendars, project management systems, content management systems, video conferencing, message boards, voice mail and more.

Businesses use Collaboration software for many different reasons. It enhances communication, helps staff keep projects under tighter control and allows coordination of everything that goes on in the company from meetings to vacations to project due dates.  One of the most popular reasons for using Collaboration software is to smooth out communication snafus that otherwise can easily develop within organizations operating out of distant locations. Also, collaborative software greatly increases the attractiveness of having staff work from their homes.

There are several ways of classifying Collaboration software that highlight some of the different uses. Some pros divide Collaboration software into three classifications as follows:

Collaboration Communications Tools: FAX, email and voice mail

Collaboration Conferencing Tools: voice, data and video conferencing

Collaboration Management Tools: project management systems, calendars, workflow systems

While the above seems a logical way to categorize Collaboration software to emphasize its value, there are those who prefer a two-category distinction as outlines below:

Synchronous Groupware: Staff are able to use the Collaboration software simultaneously

Asynchronous Groupware: Staff use the Collaboration software at different times

A third way of classifying Collaboration software depends on where the employees are when they use the software. Good collaboration software will allow instant access to information, independent of location. For example:

Collaboration Distance Software: Used by individuals located in far-flung locations

Collaboration Collocated Software: Used by staff in the same location

Regardless of how you classify your Collaboration software, there are great benefits to be gained through its use. But, as with any application, they key to reaping its considerable project management, communication and conferencing benefits is getting your employees to use it. Once they do and see the value of Collaboration software for themselves, they will become strong advocates for this important software family.

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