Collaboration Software - Building an office without walls.

By: Mike Nielsen

What is an office without walls?

Now if you are sitting there picturing yourself sitting on the grass outside holding hands with your fellow employees that isn’t what I meant by building an office without walls. Of course you still have physical walls but with use of the internet and collaboration software you can create an environment in which the information you share and collaborate on can be exchanged employee to employee so easily that it will seem as though there are no “walls" to prevent you from being as effective as you can be.

So what is collaboration software?

Collaboration software is software that is used to collect the ideas and documents from multiple people into one document without having the group formally meet together to discuss their ideas. It can be done individually without leaving the office. Collaboration software allows you to exchange your calendars, spreadsheets, presentations, and other documents with everyone in your, group, company, or whomever.

How does collaboration software work?

There are essentially two types of collaboration software.

Most collaboration software is centralized, which requires an IT infrastructure to make it usable. Setting up an IT infrastructure can be very expensive and time consuming. Collaboration software that is centralized can be very beneficial for team collaboration but it sometimes requires that all who wish to share the collaboration documents have the same software set up on their computer. Some of the collaboration that requires the use of an IT infrastructure includes the following:

  • Groove Network
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Documentum
  • Filenet

There is another type of collaboration software which does not require the use of an IT infrastructure and requires very little installation time. NextPage is one example of collaboration software that doesn’t require an expensive IT infrastructure. Another advantage that NextPage has is that you can share documents with anyone; they don’t have to have the NextPage software on their machine to view the documents that you send them. This can be useful if you are preparing a document for a client where you need the input and editions from your fellow co-workers but then want to send the finished product to your client who isn’t using the same software. He/she can still open up the document when they receive it and you can easily track editions to the document using NextPage’s collaboration software.

As you can see, using collaboration software can be very beneficial to keeping documents you share in your office and with clients organized and up-to-date. With the implementation of collaboration software, you can create an office without walls and without bounds with regards to productivity and organization. All that remains is for you to go get it, and get it implemented!

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