Collaboration Software: Index of Collaboration Software TechnologiesWritten by Joe Miller
Collaboration Software, also known as group collaboration software or groupware, is software which allows cooperation on a business document between multiple parties on multiple computers. Collaboration software also allows integration and merging of document changes and versions on a business document.
There are two types of collaboration software: IT centered and low IT involvement. IT-centered collaboration software, like many document and content management platforms, requires new IT infrastructure, training, maintenance and support. Low IT involved collaboration software communicates collaborative information to all parties involved using existing IT infrastructure and with little or no training and maintenance, making open collaborative software more diverse and less expensive. This type of collaboration software also manages ad hoc processes of business collaboration, assisting businesses even when workload and deadlines create a hectic and disorganized schedule.
This article presents an index of collaboration software technologies to assist businesses in finding collaboration software that works for them. Any given internet search on “groupware” or “collaboration software” will yield millions of results. Knowing what technologies to look for will help whittle down results to a groupware that works way businesses work.
Digital Thread Technology literally threads together multiple drafts of a document by placing a tag in metadata of document. Each time document is edited or changed, changes are tracked. When it comes time to merge versions of document into final draft, each version will be accounted for. In addition, those who work on document will know what changes were made, when they were made, and where and by whom drafts were saved.
Beating the Big Box RetailersWritten by Brett J. Daly
A question that faces many small business owners is how to compete with big box retailers. Wal-Mart is a common target. To their credit, they've established a highly efficient distribution system and a really simple business model. They'll win on price due to distribution efficiency and economies of scale. So, this isn't meant to be a shot at Wal-Mart or any other big box player. However, I for one can't help but to hope that there always will be a spot for smaller players. They may not be able to win on price, but they can provide outstanding service and bring profits back to their respective local community.
So, question becomes, how do you win? Business 2.0 published a pretty good article in their May 2005 issue titled "How to Beat Wal-Mart?" What's particularly interesting is that some folks have been successful even competing on price. Save-a-Lot competes by providing convenience of a smaller store in local neighborhoods that aren't name brand. To me, that seems to take away direct brand competition, which is a good thing. The Dollar Tree also attracts those looking for low price in a small store with simple pricing. In fact, their operating margins are higher than Wal-Mart's. Finally, Costco succeeds via providing higher-end products to those who want good items at lower prices. Small business is a primary market, one that Sam's Club is now going after.
With all that said, fighting on price is a battle you'll likely lose. Especially if you are offering identical items. Wal-Mart will almost always beat you on price, although there are big box players who are less focused on price. So it might be a little more feasible against one of them. Still, I'd differentiate along other lines. Service is obvious one. Going after a more upscale segment is another feasible route, although it is dependent on your local community's demographics. With all that said, it is still helpful to remove inefficiencies in your business. This will make you more competitive on price, and you can let other factors put you over top.