Online Collaboration

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1 Response

  1. Hi Anke, fun that you would use us at Akvo as an example. Maybe I can provide some more input.

    We use a number of tools to help us collaborate, just as you say. We are a small organisation, but very distributed. We have twelve people working from nine physical locations. Only four of use work in the same office, in Hague. Most of us work from home.

    We use a number of tools to get our work done. Here is a partial list:

    – Google Calendar
    – Google Wave, fast moving documents like requirements analysis
    – Google Docs, documentation, later transferred to the Mediawiki based Wiki
    – Tender, for help documentation, support discussions
    – iChat / Skype for video chat and chat (we use this a lot)
    – Email, (of course) on our own mail server (Zimbra)
    – Dropbox, for shared document storage
    – WordPress / Drupal for blog and webpages
    – Twitter, for status updates and giving the team and our wider collaboration teams a sense of what is going on, as well as bouncing ideas off each other (quite active on this)
    – Highrise, a customer interaction database
    – PHPlist, for mailings, with our own integration to Highrise

    We are an online services organisation, so we develop software, which means we have a lot more collaborative tools around the software development, but describing that is for another time.

    We experimented with a number of tools before we ended up with the above selection. Is it perfect? By no means. The advantage is that it is very flexible. The disadvantage is that there are quite a few systems, with poor or no integration sometimes.

    The total monthly cost is US$35. Most of the tools are free. There is some admin involved, but nothing really major.

    Could we replicate this functionality with a single tool? Unlikely, so for us it felt best to go with a “best of breed” solution for now.

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