Collaboration Software Tools

Date:  2021-03-08 05:33:11
5 pages  (1362 words)
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This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Collaboration software, also commonly referred to as groupware, refers to software applications that are designed to help people working on a common task to achieve their objectives (Blokdijk, 2015). Collaboration software enables document, file and data sharing, processing and management between many users and systems (Blokdijk, 2015). This enables two or more users working remotely to work jointly on a project or task. Using collaboration software means having all staff each creating a workspace, adding data and workflows to it and having this workspace viewable and accessible by all other users, even remote users (Duffy, 2015). Collaboration software enables syncing of all changes and updates made to the data, such that at any one time, all users have the most up to date progress on a project (techopedia).

Navi Logistics is a logistics company with one hundred employees in four branches across the region. The companys main operation entails the distribution of goods. It has a fleet of thirty trucks, ten vans and five pickup trucks. Its clients vary from individual customers transporting goods weighing from 1 ton onwards, to manufacturers/ suppliers transporting their goods to their distributor premises. At the moment, the company has seven major manufacturers as clients, who mainly deal with the production of consumer products. It ensures that incoming goods from suppliers are in good condition, are stored properly and the materials for customers leave in the right condition and quantities and are received on time.

Some potential benefits that could emerge from the use of collaboration tools would be:

Time-saving: No manager has to leave their desk or area of operation to physically attend a meeting with their team members, as this can be done immediately on a virtual platform (Blokdijk, 2015). Smaller operations teams within the company would also get to enjoy the same benefit.

Synced processes:

This would in turn mean zero data duplication, as all the four branches will be reading from and feeding into a common data pool/ repository (Scholer, 2014). This would as well save time for the employees to engage in more core business activities as no employee would have to sit down and recreate an already existing document or record.

Real-time communication and feedback:

This would mean accelerated service and/or process improvement, as well as immediate customer feedback & thus increased customer satisfaction (Scholer, 2014).

It would also mean availing employees with a platform where they can share the challenges they encounter in their different areas and how they've tackled these, which would in essence save another branch in another area the trouble of having to deal with the same problems all over again (Scholer, 2014).

Visibility and transparency:

This would mean that everyone knows where everyone else in the workflow process, leaving no room for unnecessary process delay, thus ensuring process efficiency (Blokdijk, 2015). The managers will also be able to keep track of everyone's progress, ensuring no one lags behind.

Actual Return on Investment:

The company would enjoy savings on purchasing and maintaining costly hardware and software infrastructure, should web-based collaboration software be implemented (Blokdijk, 2015).

Saving the company copying and mailing costs.

Cutting down on costs that would have to be incurred each time a physical meeting needed to be held flight costs, stationery, meals, hotels, etc (Scholer, 2014).

Based on research, some of the collaboration soft wares that rank highly in helping to achieve such a desired end are:

Confluence by Atlassian

Podio by Citrix

Slack by Slack

Confluence by Atlassian at a cost of $10.00 / month for up to 10 users

Features and benefits:

Collaboration, knowledge management, a knowledge base, a social intranet and technical writing (Blokdijk, 2015).

Security & vulnerability:

However, this product prides itself in being secure to the extent that anyone who doesn't have permission to certain data may not even know of its existence. More to that, it allows single sign on, which makes end-user log-on processes easier, as well as user administration (Blokdijk, 2015). The downside to using this tool is that some of its features are not up to date and with time, it can get to be quite expensive.

Implementation & training issues:

Confluence can be purchased as a downloadable version, or can be rendered as a service on demand (Scholer, 2014). Downloading it and hosting it locally could potentially pose challenges with regards to running upgrades, performing data migrations and configuring the product. On the other hand, having it provided as a service would eliminate at least 60 percent of the above challenges.

It is however, a fairly intuitive product to use for both technical and non-technical users, which in turn means minimal training needs (Scholer, 2014).

With regards to customer support, they have a team that have good follow up and remain well informed about one's user experience. However, one may expect delays with regards to timely feedback (Scholer, 2014).

Podio by Citrix, at $14.00/ user/ month

Features & benefits:

Web & mobile deployment, social collaboration, unlimited storage, integrated chat, full customization, a personal dashboard, task management, automated workflow, connected CRM, meeting scheduling, project management, calendar and data visualization.

Security & vulnerability:

Podio is a secure product in that it is hosted on secure Data centers, it has secure encryption, it employs restricted access a notification has to be sent to access another person's information, regular audits are run on the software and all the data is regularly backed up.

The downside to using this tool though would be that it presently lacks a time-tracking tool, as well as PDF and image mark up tools.

Implementation & training issues:

With regards to product implementation, Podio is entirely web-based. This means no local hosting, which eliminates the complexities that come with hosting an application locally, as well as cutting down on unnecessary infrastructure costs. Podio provides installation instructions which are easy to follow, and they have a reliable customer support team that works round the clock to respond promptly to any user requests.

As observed by potential users, Podio has a fairly user-friendly interface that is largely self-explanatory and would require minimal training when it comes to the more technical aspects of using the application. They have great customer service as well (Titterington, 2014).

Slack by Slack, at $8.00/ user/ month

Features and benefits

Organizing team conversations into either open or private channels, direct messaging, dragging dropping and sharing of all file types and a syncing feature that allows users to merge all the applications they use with Slack so as to avoid constantly switching between apps.

Security & vulnerability:

The cons of using this software would be that it has no calendar, task-management or other commonly known collaboration features (Duffy, 2015).

Implementation & training issues:

It is a fully functional web application requiring no installation.

It is not at first intuitive and would require a fair amount of training before users are able to customize it and exploit its full potential (Duffy, 2015).

Conclusion:

Given the above product reviews, the two vendors that we would have to decide between are Confluence by Atlassian or Podio by Citrix.

Podio has multiple features and more importantly, implements a CRM component, which one would have to integrate separately if working with another online collaboration tool. Based on observation, the CRM component could be making the pricing of this product to be quite high, for it would come to an average cost of $1,400 per month for 100 users.

On the other hand, the pricing of Confluence by Atlassian is rather fair. This is because its monthly rates start of quite fairly, at $10 for up to 10 users, then progresses to $50 for up to 15 users, $100 for up to 25 users, $200 for up to 50 users, $300 for up to 100 users. Comparatively, this comes to an average cost of $300 per month for 100 users.

The key thing that the vendors would need to demonstrate is the unique strengths of their product feature set, since both products meet the firms requirements to a large extent (Blokdijk, 2015). In this particular scenario, efficiency is key and it would be more prudent to spend a bit more to achieve this.

 

References

Blokdijk, G. (2015). Collaboration Tools - Simple Steps to Win, Insights and Opportunities for Maxing Out Success. Emereo Pty Limited.

Duffy, J. (2015, August 6). The Best Online Collaboration Software 2015. Retrieved from PcMag: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2489110,00.asp

Titterington, J. (2014, July 25). Podio Review. Retrieved from merchantmaverick: http://www.merchantmaverick.com/reviews/podio-review/

 

 

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