Enterprise Software

Collaborate.com: Two heads are better than one

In this week's Web site review, Kevin Eikenberry looks at a company that offers help with collaboration and groupware. Resources, collaboration tools, and research information are all available at Collaborate.com.


One place that trainers can help our organizations improve is in the increasingly important area of collaboration and knowledge management. This week's review is the first in a series that will look at collaboration groupware and knowledge management. This week's site is Collaborate.com .

It is the home for a company called Collaborative Strategies, a San Francisco-based management services firm. This company's focus is groupware and distance collaboration. The well-designed site features three key areas:
  1. Services
  2. Publications
  3. Resources

Services
The Services section describes the company’s offerings, but I mention it for the subscription service, CSInteractive. According to the site, “Users, vendors, and other organizations that believe collaboration and teamwork are critical to success will find CSInteractive a distinctly valuable resource. CSInteractive provides a broad scope of current, detailed information regarding electronic collaboration and knowledge management when and how you want it.”

The subscription fees are substantial, but if your organization is far-flung and looking to better manage its collaboration tools, this might be a useful service. Also, this would be a great needs assessment tool for trainers as they design additional training and/or try to understand how existing collaboration tools are used.

Publications
The Publications section is largely a place of links to information of several types—books, magazine articles, case studies, and white papers included. The principal of this organization appears to be an active author, as he wrote all of the magazine articles and both books featured. The site allows you to order either of the books, but also includes a complete outline and a sample chapter of one of them, "Groupware."

I found the case studies to be especially useful because they covered a wide range of topics and were well written. The white paper available at the time of this review, “Electronic Collaboration on the Internet and Intranets” was excellent. In fact, it includes some links to sites that you may see reviewed here in the coming weeks.

Resources
The Resources section consists of the Hot Tip, which appears monthly, some general resources, and a links page. The general resources section includes one article of note, “What Is Groupware—20 Rules For Success.” This article would be useful to all trainers for general knowledge.

While this section would be useful to a trainer, it is especially valuable to IT trainers, due to the technology of collaboration tools described.

Final impressions
While the site is home to a consulting firm, it does offer much value beyond the description of the company's services. Time spent here will be time well spent if your organization is looking to improve its distance collaboration and project management abilities or is implementing new knowledge management strategies. The richness of resources publications in white papers and case studies makes this site worthwhile.

The site would be improved from the trainer’s perspective if it dealt with more pragmatic issues rather than focusing solely on the strategic, but that doesn’t lessen its overall value. Bookmark this site—especially if the leadership in your organization is looking to you for help in these areas.

Kevin Eikenberry is president of the Discian Group, a learning consulting company in Indianapolis.

To comment on this article or suggest other Web sites to review, please write to Kevin with your ideas.

Here is Kevin’s review of the Collaborative Strategies’ Web site.

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