Working Together more efficiently
Collaboration environments help groups of people work together efficiently. So-called work group software solutions bring together people, projects, documents, emails, discussions, calendars and more in a single space on your Intranet Portal.
Currently, organizing a meeting might involve emailing an agenda to each participant. After each member has proposed agenda and meeting time changes (and these have been re-distributed) multiple copies and versions of the file exist across a range of email, file and physical stores. The chances are that one attendee shows up at the wrong time and another with the wrong agenda.
Had the meeting been arranged via a collaboration environment, only one copy of the agenda would exist (which multiple authors had been involved in crafting). The meeting time & place would always be up-to-date within the shared calendar and, afterwards, the notes and links from the meeting would be posted there for all to see (and find afterwards when needed). Some of the meetings could even be held online within the portal (so reduce the traveling time of staff based across multiple locations).
Team Rooms & Project Space Collaboration
Creating a small shared space for a regular or one-off meeting is just one of the possible applications of collaboration solutions. More powerful still is the use of a collaboration site for an entire team, where multiple processes, documents, workflows and events can be managed in one shared team room.
Collaboration environments are highly effective for the management of projects. Any staff member, authorized to do so, may set up a project space using a standard project space template – perhaps with a project document hierarchy and lifecycle already in place, together with standard project document templates. The team can then share important documents, work on them and incorporate full version control from wherever they are based across the world. Through an extranet, the project space can be opened up to third party suppliers and partners.
If you use Office 2016 and SharePoint 2016 together for your projects, the portal starts to deliver in new and exciting ways. Project Server can import or export a task list to SharePoint (so tasks can be allocated and tracked online). Timesheets can also be managed through SharePoint, permitting the project manager to manage resources, perform schedule recalculations and provide comprehensive project progress and cost reports.
Communities of Practice
Communities of practice (CoP) exist in an organization where people who have a common interest in some subject, social activity or problem collaborate over an extended period to share ideas, find solutions, and build innovations. A CoP may extend beyond the confines of a single team or business unit. It may, indeed, transcend the boundaries of the organization itself (where, for example, suppliers and buyers from different companies collaborate on keeping up-to-date with technological advances in their field).
Collaboration Solutions – A Summary
Collaboration solutions dramatically improve the efficiency of teams, projects and communities of practice, whether confined to your organization or extended, through an extranet, to third parties and partners. SharePoint 2007 and other intranet portal software could pay for itself on this aspect alone!