Jump Start Your Collaboration

Tuesday Dec 21st 2004 by Dan Muse
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To answer the nagging question, 'what do you do with collaboration software?' peer-to-peer software provider Groove Networks announced a collection of templates designed to help put Groove Virtual Office to work.

Many businesses that use collaboration software can't imagine life without it. However, some companies that are just getting started with collaboration software can't imagine what to do with it.

Groove Networks' Director of Communications Ryan Hoppe calls it the "what now syndrome." Groove, a Beverly, Mass.-based a leader in peer-to-peer collaboration software, is attempting to face that issue head-on with yesterday's release Groove Rapid Solutions Exchange, a collection of 25 downloadable workspace templates for Groove Virtual Office software.

The templates are designed to offer ready-to-use forms for collaborative processes such as marketing programs, competitive intelligence, incident tracking, HR job requisitions, office management and more. Once businesses have installed the templates, they can customize them for their operation, Hoppe said. The first round of templates were created by Groove Networks, but Hoppe said he expects that Groove "will seed it and then back off a bit" and let the community of users take over, supplying their own Rapid Solutions forms.

The templates are free, but require Groove Virtual Office v3.0 Professional Edition or Project Edition, which cost $179 and $229, respectively. Hoppe said Groove's peer-to-peer approach is well-suited for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) because there's little they need to know from a technology standpoint and no server or additional infrastructure required. The only cost, he said, is Groove's one-time license.

Peer-to-peer collaboration software is particularly attractive to two- or three-person businesses, Hoppe said. Those companies, he said, use Groove Virtual Office to manage contractors, freelancers and customer information. He added that some of those businesses are asking, "Do we need to even have a physical office?"

Prior to using Groove Networks' software, Hoppe said, small business customers would update an Access database or Excel spreadsheet and manage the information through long e-mail threads. "It's not only time-consuming, but it's also risky," he said, referring to the potential to lose or incorrectly enter information.

Professional services firms, technology companies, real estate firms or "any industry with distributed work forces" are prime candidates to benefit from the forms templates, Hoppe said.

The collection of Rapid Solutions available initially includes the following:

  • Annual Marketing Programs
  • Asset Request
  • Competitive Intelligence
  • Corporate Security
  • Customer Reference
  • Deployment Planning
  • DSP Watch List
  • Executive Staff
  • Force Protection
  • HR Job Interviews
  • HR Tracker
  • Incident Command System
  • Lead Manager
  • Litigation
  • Office Manager
  • Reference Library
  • Relationship Manager
  • Route Assessment
  • Sales Kit
  • Sales Team
  • Status Reports
  • Structured Brainstorming
  • Support Incident Management
  • Time Cards
  • Trade Show Manager
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