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Easy Tips for Choosing the Best Collaborative Platform

Updated on May 9, 2012

When you’re searching for the best collaborative platform, you should look at what you need first and what exactly you’ll expect from the software you purchase. Most collaborative platform software packages will offer basic communication functions, data storage options, file sharing, conferencing facilities and troubleshooting tools. The best collaborative platform should be speedy, easy to use, and have extra features. You should also look at the costs of the software, and how much you are willing to pay for the features offered.

Centralized Data Storage

The features mentioned above are the three most basic but also the three most important features of a collaborative platform. Being able to store data in a centralized location makes it easy to get access to data and it also helps keep all information consistent and up to date for all participants. File sharing is another very useful feature, and makes it possible to share documents, graphs, or spreadsheets in the group while they collaborate.

Communication Tools

Collaborative platforms can include things like Internet conferencing tools, or group meetings. VOIP can be included as well, and email or instant messaging options are also fairly standard. Streaming video can be a very effective conferencing tool, and some collaborative platforms may also offer an interactive whiteboard used for demonstration purposes. The software often includes the ability to include optional participants or to exclude certain individuals from conferences, meetings, or even instant messenger conversations.

Troubleshooting Tools

This is one of the important features when it comes to being able to solve technical difficulties quickly and easily. During use, participants may experience a number of issues, and if they are able to sort it out themselves it could also save on technical assistance and save time as well in the long run. The best collaborative platform will include a centralized help function that can be accessed by any participant that needs it.

Types of Collaborative Platforms

This type of platform can take a number of forms, and you should consider just how tech savvy you are before you choose a specific type of product. These platform packages can be installed on a local computer, or installations can be run from a remote server. Some collaborative platforms are entirely Internet based and can be accessed with a username and password. The type of installation you go for may affect how quickly the platform functions. Lagging or slow transfer speeds may make a platform difficult to use, so consider your options first to see which would best in your situation.

It may be necessary to have an expert set up the software for you, and if this is the case you should check with the manufacturer to see if the package includes training for staff members. Most platforms are designed to be very user friendly, but having training included as part of the initial cost can save a lot of time and money on additional training or technical assistance.

You may also have a choice between software you can purchase, or freeware. Freeware is just as the name suggests, free. This is a better option if you’re really strapped for cash, because it may lack some of the features you need. Paid-for versions are far more useful, and include a number of added exciting features to help you do what you do best. If you’re looking for quality and performance, a paid-for or subscription collaborative platform service is definitely the way to go.


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