10 Collaboration Platforms to Consider for Your Business

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10 Collaboration Platforms to Consider for Your Business

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1) Microsoft SharePoint

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) provides Web-based collaboration, process management, enterprise search and document management. User self-serve for team site deployment has been a major facilitator for the growth of SharePoint for team sites. While the current MOSS supports wikis and blogs, it is considered clunky, and analysts have higher expectations for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 for next year, adding a new ribbon UI and a Silverlight Web Part, among other perks.

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2) IBM Lotus Connections

Microsoft's toughest competitor in business collaboration, IBM Lotus beat Microsoft to adding social networking features with its Lotus Connections suite, which enables companies to create corporate profiles, blogs, wikis, bookmarking services and community forums. IBM also recently added Twitter-like microblogging tools to Connections 2.5.

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3) Cisco WebEx Connect

There's no more popular Web conferencing application on the market than WebEx, but WebEx Connect is going beyond simple Web meetings and desktop sharing to incorporate VOIP capabilities to let colleagues or partners make calls and see each other via video while sharing presentations.

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4) Google Apps

Google Apps, a suite of e-mail, document creation, wiki, chat and other tools for helping colleagues work together and share files. Sure, it offers a lot of what other collaboration platforms from Microsoft, IBM and Cisco offer. But it offers them all completely as a hosted service, meaning Google hosts users' data on its servers. Google hopes this will be the computing paradigm of the future, but cloud computing outages occasionally tarnish Google's gleam.

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5) Zoho Apps

Following closely in Google's footsteps in SAAS (software as a service) collaboration is Zoho, which makes word processing, presentation, spreadsheet and other apps that compete with Google and on-premises rivals. But Zoho has an ace in its pocket because it also offers enterprise applications; so, for customers that don't want to rely on the Salesforce.com-Google integration, Zoho is a one-stop collaboration and CRM app shop. Zoho also plugs into Google, Microsoft and other apps.

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6) Adobe

Adobe is known for its killer Flash video and graphics rendering engine, but did you know Adobe has Web collaboration tools? Adobe Acrobat Connect software lets users trigger online meetings via a Web browser and the Adobe Flash Player, while Acrobat.com bundles the Connect Web conferencing with word processing, presentations PDF creation and file sharing.

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7) MindTouch

We love this wiki platform first because it provides an open-source alternative to platforms from Microsoft, IBM and Google and second because it boasts an impressive stream of upgrades for such a small company. In recent months, this startup has added status updates, video capabilities, as well as the ability for users to crowdsource product documentation. You won't find any other collaboration platform that supports this many Linux installations either.

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8) Socialtext

Don't be fooled by the longevity of this enterprise wiki pioneer. Socialtext continues to roll out innovations. The company recently rolled out new activity streams and mobile application support. The company also offers Signals, an enterprise microblogging tool to help workers keep Twitter-like tabs on each other.

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9) Jive Software

Like MindTouch and Socialtext, Jive is another wiki and workspace collaboration provider. But the startup separated from the pack a bit Sept. 15 when it partnered with Radian6 to filter out the white noise in social media, helping marketers see what users are saying about their brands online and take action in a 50-member workspace.

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10) Zimbra Collaboration Suite

We also like Zimbra because it's open source, but the Zimbra Collaboration Suite provides the usual e-mail, instant messaging and document sharing features along with the ability to access ZCS through Windows, Mac or Linux machines, as well as from mobile devices. Widgets called Zimlets condense other Website content from Salesforce.com and other sites within Zimbra. Word is Yahoo is trying to dump Zimbra for cash. eWEEK says Zimbra free!