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Free vs. effective collaboration  

Free vs. effective collaboration


Collaboration software is a type of modern computer-driven instruments allowing workgroups of multiple people to share their working data; specifically it covers the following functions:

  • Sharing working plans;
  • Sharing and managing documents;
  • Sharing and managing work progress;
  • Sharing other kinds of data related to common work;

There are different solutions that can provide such functionality in a varying degree, but usually one of the main factors motivating users’ choice is money. Due to this fact, many of really effective collaboration tools can be ignored by potential users who prefer to minimize their costs with free or semi-free solutions. This article is dedicated to questions of free software – if it really can work effectively or its freeness is just one side of the coin, and what factors make software effective.

Free collaboration tools – way of minimizing costs:

Typical user profile: If to speak generally, this kind of software is usually preferred by short-term workgroups working at small projects, and actually, by users who are ready to resign themselves to certain inconveniences and risks, so typical users of free collaboration software are persons with great enthusiasm, but with frugal budgets yet, like students, young entrepreneurs etc.

Technologies used in free collaboration software:

Free teamwork tools are widely offered on the Web, including installable packages and free online services. Prevalent technology for free collaboration software is PHP (web-based) solution, meaning tools that work through special Web-sites, requiring Internet and web-browser to be accessed. T here are a lot of websites providing different services to support teamwork in terms of sharing and tracking text, to-do’s, images etc. Good example is Google Docs and free collaboration calendar . In many cases free tools are open-sourced, meaning that users can modify them to design own solutions.

Efficiency study:

If to speak about any web tools, they cannot be really effective packages just because their free collaboration space (environment) is established over a public infrastructure belonging to Internet. Due to this fact, users of free collaboration software are subjected to different problems like slow performance, remote server time-outs and potentially high risk of losing data due to crash of a free collaboration server . The most common problems reported regarding installable and web-based free collaboration suite s are their poor quality (a lot of “bugs”), poor usability and functionality, and poor support (including lack of updates etc).

Commercial programs – way of experience:

Typical user profile: Long-term business teams, and teams working at serious projects with considerable investments. As far as effective leadership is usually entrusted to experienced business managers undertaking responsibilities on project success and efficiency of investments, they cannot allow any additional risks. Effective collaboration strategies stand for assurance that business data is completely safe and all technical risks are minimized, so only those solutions are allowed.


Effective collaboration definition: collaboration that is based on the most reliable technical means ensuring best performance and security. This definition automatically excludes all online web tools due to comparatively high risks. The most reliable infrastructure is internal network of your organization driven by your own IT specialists, because only in-office local networks can ensure proper performance, data accessibility and security.

Efficiency study:

Effective collaboration software is that uses effective means and that works effectively itself. The program to be considered as effective should be supported by certain guaranties of usability, safety and functionality. That’s why the most of free tools cannot work for serious projects and organizations – they cannot ensure required level of usability, support, and sometimes even openly state that no guaranties are secured. Such guaranties can be given by teamwork packages developed by IT companies on paid basis, including custom solutions and ready-to-go payware. In other words we can say that the most effective software is not only software covering your needs, but also commercial software that works inside of your office, like VIP Task Manager that will help you in establishing and driving techniques .

VIP Task Manager is client-server project collaboration software that promotes real-time communications between team participants. With a help of this product you are free to plan, assign and control tasks within your workgroup, and to practice your skills. This tool enables focusing on the task s at hand without ever losing sight of the big picture – you can adjust this product right to your needs, including planning and controlling costs, time, productivity, efficiency and many other quantitative parameters used in your projects.

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