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Getting Smarter about Document Collaboration

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According to a recent report by the UK-based Butler Group, outdated document collaboration processes are wasting time and posing risks to companies."Document management systems have helped organizations improve internal efficiency," said the report. "However, extending these systems topartners and stakeholders has proved much more difficult. Internet connectivity now provides the information worker with incredible reach, but productivity is still constrained by the collaborative range of office productivity tools and ingrained working practices."After the jump are the not to miss points.* Rising interest. 9/11 and other terrorist attacks has vastly accelerated interest in online document collaboration, resulting in "a plethora of new products on the market and a new eagerness from established vendors."* Use popular tools. "Wikis and blogs are here to stay, and so Butler Group believes that document authoring andcollaboration tools must integrate fully with these new paradigms." That is, look for solutions that "play nice" with (or that closely emulate) existing popular user-friendly collaboration tools or services. It may even become feasible to integrate Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Confluence, FilesAnywhere, Zoho, StikiPad, etc. with document management solutions.* Ditch the paper. In order to make significant progress in document collaboration,companies should "cast off the restrictions and limitations imposed by the omnipresent notion of the paper document."* Integrate document collaboration with business process, project, or workflow management. Often, systems that track how people work together can directly support and enhance document collaboration -- bringing together "the otherwise separateworlds of process and content."* Tracking counts. Internal and external compliance rules increasingly require the full auditing of every aspect of a document's lifecycle. In collaborative environments, it can be tricky to know who edited what, and when. Therefore, document collaborations systems should offer comprehensive and secure tracking. Butler Group evaluated nine major document collaboration solutions. The best in that field was Open Text's Livelink ECM - Collaboration, which has applications that address several major vertical markets. Key strength: It integrates business process management and document collaboration. However, be careful not to confuse this "overperforming" solution with Open Text's Livelink ECM - eDOCS Collaboration -- a rebranded offering from Hummingbird, which was acquired by Open Text. Butler group rated the eDOCS version as "underperforming."

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