There are dozens and dozens of services enabling you to collaborate and
communicate with your employees, vendors, partners and others.
Being able to store documents, manage versions, be updated with
tasks and other features are all common features of these collaboration
tools. The challenge is which one is for you?
As you are looking to see what really differentiates these services, one powerful feature I’ve in one service, Box.net, is search.
Early this week, Box.net, online
file storage and collaboration, enabled full text search of documents.
While it’s easy to put documents in folders or groups, once you have
hundreds (or more) documents on your hosted system, the challenge is
finding the document you need to. What about the new person, who is not
familiar with your file system? With full document searching built into
your collaboration tool, they can more easily find documents without
endless searching or asking someone for help.
The reason why desktop search tools from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are
so popular is because employees have such difficulty finding documents
on their personal hard drives or corporate file servers.
With Box.net’s new full document search feature, finding documents on your network, seconds after their upload, is much easier.
As you look for a document collaboration system to help you better
manage your documents, and as an alternative or compliment to
traditional file server such as Microsoft Small Business Service, it’s
important to go beyond the surface of just price and features.
You should take the time to test the service (many have free
options), also have a sampling of your staff test the service out, to
get their feedback. You’ll never find any solution (heck any human for
that matter) that can satisfy you 100% but you can find a solution that
meets 80% or so of your needs and wants and this is the solution you
want to invest in.
I found Box.net to be very, very user friendly and simple to use.
Jen Grant, Vice President of Marketing with Box.net told me that
Box.net’s president, Aaron Levie, has instructed his entire programming
staff to ensure Box.net is feature rich and simple to use. Although
Box.net does not have a usability team, like many companies do, if
their management is laser liked focused on making not just a feature
rich product, but a product that people LIKE to use, they’ll do just
Box is offered in a variety of packages and editions ranging from
the free Lite version which offers basic functionality for people who
have simple collaboration needs to the $15/month per user in the
Business version which offers better control, additional features,
including full-text search, and is scalable for any sized business.