Collaboration Evolves

New offerings address diverse enterprise needs in everything from collobrative work space software, group scheduling and useful business process statistics.

Enterprises with diverse collaboration needs will find new offerings from SiteScape Inc., Inc. and Centra Software Inc., all aiming to meet those challenges.

An upgrade to SiteScape Enterprise Forum collaborative work spaces software, announced last week, features new capabilities focusing on improved document management and overall usability., a provider of hosted collaboration services, added new group-scheduling capabilities to its Online Calendar service. And Centra earlier this month introduced four solutions designed to apply collaboration to specific business processes.

SiteScapes Enterprise Forum 7.1 software includes a new feature called Forum Overview, which displays statistical information about entries, workflow processes and tasks in a charts-and-graphs format in the products discussions forum and calendars.

Another new feature is the HTML viewer, which converts uploaded files into HTML. Support for multifile downloads in Enterprise Forum 7.1 allows users to download multiple attachments as a single compressed file from a Forum entry to their desktop or laptop. The new Folder Maps feature provides a graphical representation of how document and discussion forums are structured, said company officials in Maynard, Mass.

Intranets.coms Online Calendar, targeted at small businesses and workgroups in larger organizations, supports group scheduling of meetings, events and appointments. Features include the ability to check for scheduling conflicts with colleagues or business partners, to schedule recurring meetings and notify participants via e-mail and to check meeting room or location availability.

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Online Calendar also lets users receive meeting reminders via Intranets .coms Desktop Assistant; attach relevant documents, agendas or directions to an event; and synchronize calendar appointments with a Palm Inc.-based handheld or Microsoft Corp. Outlook client, according to company officials in Woburn, Mass.

Centra, of Lexington, Mass., is packaging best practices learned from previous customer deployments into four new solution sets for application rollouts, sales effectiveness, customer acquisition and collaborative learning. Built on top of the companys Centra 7 platform, the offerings come with four components: workflow tools customized to each solution, the Centra Knowledge Center content management system, third-party integration through Web services and APIs, and professional services.

Wyndham International Inc. uses Centras software for Web conferencing and online learning now, saving $15,000 per month in conference calls alone, according to Mark Eggers, manager of online learning for the Dallas-based hospitality company. Eggers said Centras solutions strategy may make it easier for Wyndham to use the software for its sales operations.

"The way theyre going now with the solutions, they help you to use the product more effectively and take it to the next step," Eggers said. "Absolutely, itll be a plus for us if we extend Centra to the sales area."