Microsoft SharePoint is the standard for most organizations when it comes to collaboration tools for creating a shared space for documents, calendars, contacts, and projects. However, medium and small sized companies often can’t afford the licensing fees charged by Microsoft which can run up to tens of thousands of dollars per year for even a modest implementation. I’ll share a few of the free online tools that are available for team collaboration.
Often pitched as the “open source” version of SharePoint, Alfresco provides the ability to manage documents, web content, and records. It is built on open standards and open source tools which allows it to be installed in non-Microsoft environments. Alfresco also supports the SharePoint protocol which makes it look like a SharePoint instance to Microsoft Office applications. While you have to pay for the Cloud (i.e., no installation required) and the Enterprise Edition versions, the free Community Edition offers the same powerful features as the paid versions.
Kablink is open source software that has three modules: iFolder, Kablink Teaming, and Kablink Conferencing. The iFolder modules allows multiple users to synchronize their files to a central location. This central location can be backed up, and iFolder automatically synchronizes the local versions to the server copy. Kablink Teaming provides workspaces that offer discussion forums, document management, and presence information. Kablink Conferencing allows users to instantly start online meetings, work on a shared virtual whiteboard, see each other’s screen, and take part in a conferencing call. You can install all three modules or just the ones that are needed by your organization.
Joomla is an open source content management application that provides a quick way to build powerful web sites. It is used as the back end for sites like IHOP, Outdoor Photography, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard. Joomla can also be used for team collaboration through its ability to share documents, contacts, and a calendar. Furthermore, there is a large set of extensions that can expand the core functionality of Joomla in order to provide additional collaboration functionality.
While better known as open source blog software, WordPress can also be used for collaboration. Shared files can be uploaded to the WordPress instance and made available to the entire team. Team members can also post ideas and allow others to make comments. WordPress enjoys an extremely large developer community that has created a wide variety of widgets that can provide even more collaboration tools.
With Alfresco, Kablink, Joomla, and WordPress, you don’t have to worry about paying expensive licensing fees for a collaboration tool. Allowing your team members to more effectively work with each other can be accomplished by simply downloading one of these applications.Category: Uncategorized | Tags: alfresco, collaboration, conferencing, document management, joomla, kablink, open source, open standards, sharepoint, team, wordpress