In all the fuss around SharePoint since its release, alternatives are sometimes ove looked, which is a pity given that there are many effective, cheaper options around. Such is the case with Central Desktop (news, site), which has released its Common Ground Edition that offers review and approve components for marketing companies.

Central Desktop, which is sometimes offered as an economical version of SharePoint, has a robust social collaboration platform that targets the SMB market where users can create common files, develop blogs and forums, and develop to wikis -- in fact, pretty much all you might want from a social collaboration application.

Review, Approve

To this, and specifically for marketing departments, they have added the Review and Approve process with the Common Ground Edition agency collaboration platform, which is built on the main collaboration platform and offers online review and approve processes for creative files.

While Central Desktop says this will “maximize billing hours and increase client retention," the real value of this lies in the fact that it enables both internal and external teams to communicate on projects with all the functionality expected of a social collaboration application, including file sharing and centralized communication.

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Common Ground: How it works

Common Ground Features

The result is an application that can dispense with FTP and face-to face meetings, email (for this process anyway), disrupting workflows and compelling enterprises to engage in lengthy review processes. Features that enable this include:

  • Client Connect: Virtualized team room where teams can meet internal and external contributors, including clients
  • Review ±Approve: Enable in-line editing on just about any creative file type available including JPEGs, PSD files, MPG and AVI files
  • Feedback Loop: A means of keeping clients updated daily on deadlines as well as imputing feedback from those clients
  • Work Order Manager: Assignment of workflows and tasks to individual team members
  • Pursuit Suite: Collaboration with all team members on proposals through RFP responses, other files and threaded discussions; documents can also be simultaneously edited here

And, the company says, there will more functionality added over time.

Our strategy going forward is to continue adding functionality to Common Ground while developing these customized end-to-end solutions that address the specific needs of our target market segments,” Isaac Garcia, CEO and co-founder of Central Desktop said.

While Central Desktop upgrades its platform regularly, with the release of CentralDesk 2.0 last year it spruced up its social media offering by adding features, including an enhanced user interface and online file viewing.

Since then it has been adding more, and clearly feels it is now in a position to offer industry-specific applications, like this one for marketing agencies.

Available in two versions at the moment, it comes as Common Ground Essentials and Common Ground Elite with additional features. Pricing starts at US$ 899 per month for small teams.