Solutions

Trillian Pro 3VendorCerulean Studios Product typeInstant messagingIT requirementsNo local server needed; client software installs on desktop; no...


Trillian Pro 3
Vendor Cerulean Studios
Product type Instant messaging
IT requirements No local server needed; client software installs on desktop; no management tools
Usability profile Simple to configure and use; other Trillian users on the same network are detected and added automatically
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
$25 per user with one year of support: $1,250, $12,500, $25,000

Connecting unofficially to the AIM, ICQ, MSN and Yahoo Messenger networks (as well as IRC chat and XMPP messaging like Jabber), Trillian Pro also offers 'serverless messaging'. Within the security of the company network, instant messages to co-workers are sent directly to the relevant PC. You don’t need to set up encryption, or even give everyone an Internet connection. Anyone else using Trillian Pro automatically shows up on your contact list. Conversations can be logged from each client.

This product is best suited to smaller companies with few IT resources. Download a free trial of version 3.1 here.



IMsecure Pro
Vendor Zone Labs
Product type Security for instant messaging
IT requirements No local server needed; client software installs on desktop; no management tools
Usability profile Simple to install, transparent in use
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
$699.95 for 50 users

IMsecure Pro is simple to install and immediately identifies and protects your IM clients, including AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, and even 'universal' clients like Trillian. It works in the background, requires minimal configuration and offers a range of security functions, including message encryption, buffer overflow protection, 'spim' (IM spam) blocking and ID locking.

This product is best suited to smaller companies with few IT resources. You can download a trial version of IMsecure Pro here.



More 'ad-hoc' collaboration solutions

Product
Highlights
Store &
manage
information

Interact with
information &
communicate

Develop custom
applications


Moveable Type Blogging platform that allows individual and group blogging. Template design and access to Perl source code make it easy for skilled users to customise yes yes
SocialText
Workspace
Web-based collaboration platform
that mixes Wiki and blogs. Available as an appliance and a service as well as an application
yes yes
FlexWiki Collaborative Web publishing and document management system for Windows servers. Uses ASP.NET to take advantage of the Windows .NET framework. See it in action in the Channel 9 site yes yes
Jabber XML-based chat and message handling framework, with a large
number of clients available. XML message structure can be used by applications as well as people
yes yes
Twiki Structured wiki, with account and access controls. Files can be uploaded and stored alongside content pages yes yes
MediaWiki A popular wiki for Intranet development. The same code is used to run Wikipedia yes yes
Word Press A PHP/MySQL-based blogging tool, with a plugin architecture for extensions. Template-based design makes it easy to customise, along with a role-based publishing model yes yes


WebEx Meeting Center
Vendor WebEx
Product type Web conferencing
IT requirements Internet connection and Web browser: no local infrastructure is required for this hosted service, unless you want a WebEx-managed Extended MediaTone eXchange switch to keep communications between internal participants on your own network
Usability profile Power Panels make this latest version easier to use than earlier all-in-one interfaces; it’s easy to start meetings, but you need to get the hang of the range of tools
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
50 users: £4,400 per month at £88 per seat; pricing on request (with flexible discounts) for 500, 1000 users and MediaTone eXchange

This is not the cheapest Web conferencing system because you’re paying to use WebEx’s private MediaTone Network, but it's one of the most powerful. WebEx Meeting Center includes application sharing, an interactive whiteboard, video from up to four cameras, VoIP telephony or free conference calls, Outlook scheduling integration and excellent meeting controls. The new Power Panels let you keep multiple windows on-screen at once to show chat, video, lists of participants and other tools that keep the meeting on track.


Breeze 5
Vendor Macromedia
Product type Web conferencing
IT requirements Hosted Breeze service uses Macromedia Flash player in Web browser and needs no local infrastructure. A Local Breeze Communication Server runs on Windows Server 2000 or Windows Server 2003, which needs PowerPoint 2002 or 2003 and a printer driver (not necessarily a physical printer) installed; Microsoft SQL Server 2000 required for multiple servers; Breeze Edge Server and Gigabit Ethernet suggested for 250+ users
Usability profile Breeze’s modular layout makes it easy to create custom meeting layouts, and quickly change views as user roles change. Integration with familiar presentation and design applications keeps the learning curve to a minimum
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
£15,000 per year for 50 named users on the hosted service; £25,000 for local server supporting 50 users. A typical business buying concurrent user licences spends £12,000-£20,000 with Macromedia

Macromedia’s Breeze takes advantage of the Flash player that’s on almost every desktop to deliver Web-based conferencing, presentations and training. A set of PowerPoint plug-ins convert existing presentations into Flash movies, including voice-overs; you can also add quizzes and tests. You can use the resulting Flash-based Breeze-presentations in meetings, presentations, seminars and e-learning, and record complete meetings to replay later. Meetings can include video conferencing, as well as online chat, and you can brand the meeting environment with details such as your company logo. You can either use the hosted Breeze service, or run meetings on your own servers.



More hosted collaboration solutions

Product
Highlights
Store &
manage
information

Interact with
information &
communicate

Develop custom
applications


Microsoft Live Meeting Web-based online meeting service. Allows you to share any printable document, along with desktop applications yes
Citrix GoToMeeting Simple Web-based presentation and collaboration platform. Individual (10 attendee) and corporate accounts available yes
Salesforce.com Focused on CRM, and associated collaboration workflows. Customforce option allows development of custom applications yes yes yes, with sForce
Netsuite Small Business Group calendaring and event management as part of a Web-based suite of business tools. Also includes file management and sharing features yes yes
Convoq ASAP Pro Web-based conferencing tool for small and large teams. Link icons indicate availability and can direct contacts to teams or individuals yes yes
Intuit Quickbase Web-based portal platform with tools for managing and sharing information in custom database, with a monthly PAYG pricing model. Customise existing applications or create your own from scratch yes yes yes
Groove Peer-to-peer or hosted collaborative workplace and document store. Allows virtual teams to share documents, communicate and work offline yes yes


WebSphere Portal Express
Vendor IBM
Product type Collaboration server for SMEs
IT requirements i5/OS V5R3M0, Linux, OS/400 V5R2M0, Windows 2000
Usability profile Like all portals, usability depends on portlet design and screen layout; users can resize and reformat the default layouts, and add portlets as required
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
£22,804 for unlimited per-processor licence; £3,492 for 50 users; £29,100 for 500 users; £58,200 for 1000 users; WebSphere Portal Express Plus costs £36,349 for unlimited per-processor licence; £5,547 for 50 users; £46,225 for 500 users; £92,450 for 1000 users

Built on top of IBM’s well-known WebSphere Application Server and including technology from its Raven knowledge-management project, WebSphere Portal Express is a collaboration server designed for a small business, or a department within a larger business. Portal Express includes portal features and integrated document management tools, while Portal Express Plus adds virtual team rooms and instant messaging. Like all portals, you can include J2EE applications running in portlets that link to existing applications, or you can use any Java development tool to create your own tools. You can use WebSphere Portal Express to collaborate with business partners as well as internal teams. Although there is an integrated database to get you started, you can also use IBM’s DB2, Microsoft’s SQL Server and Oracle.


Lotus Domino Express
Vendor IBM
Product type Messaging and collaboration for SMEs
IT requirements AIX 5.1, AIX 5.2 iSeries; OS/400 Version 5 Release 1 or later; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1, UnitedLinux 1.0, Powered by UnitedLinux, 1.0 Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0, SuSE Linux Enterprise; Solaris 8, Solaris 9; Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2003 Enterprise Edition, Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, Windows NT4
Usability profile Users can work with Domino through familiar email clients, including Outlook, but applications may require the Lotus Notes client or a Web front end, which can be harder to learn
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
Messaging Express, unlimited per processor licence £784, £3,287 for 50 users, £32,870 for 500 users, £65,740 for 1000 users; Collaboration Express £4,554 for 50 users; £45,540 for 500 users; £91,080 for 1000 users; Utility Server Express, unlimited per-processor licence £1,712

Lotus Notes was one of the first collaboration applications. The Domino server has now been decoupled from the Notes client, and you can use it as a Web-based collaboration tool. To get the best results from Domino you still need to use the Notes client to access applications and messages, although remote users can work with any client that supports POP3 or IMAP mail. Three versions are available for small business: Messaging Express, Collaboration Express and Utility Server Express. The Collaboration Express variant includes mail, calendaring and workflow applications as well as basic IM and Web conferencing. Utility Server Express allows you to extend collaboration applications to your partners via the Internet.


Live Communications Server 2005 / Office Communicator 2005
Vendor Microsoft
Product type Corporate instant messaging and presence services
IT requirements Windows Server 2003, Active Directory; LCS Enterprise Edition (for up to 20,000 active users) uses SQL Server as a data store; Standard Edition (up to 15,000 active users) uses the Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine, but still needs SQL Server for features like archiving instant messages and logging user actions; for federation and connecting to public IM networks, you need a second LCS server running as an edge proxy server
Usability profile End users only see the client applications you provide, like Office Communicator 2005, which resembles familiar IM tools
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
50 named users $9,000 per year plus $3,000 annual fee; 50 shared users $45,000 per year plus $3,000 annual fee; per-room pricing from $6,000 per year for 50-seat room plus $3,000 annual fee; volume licence discounts available from Microsoft resellers; public IM connection costs $13-$19 per user per year

Not to be confused with Microsoft’s hosted Web conferencing system, LiveMeeting, Live Communications Server 2005 offers instant messaging and presence for the enterprise, complete with peer-to-peer audio, whiteboards and application sharing (one-to-one rather than for a group in this release). The new version includes federation (offering IM and presence services to home workers and partner companies) and PBX integration so you can make and forward phone calls (with selected PBXs from partners like Siemens, Mitel and Alcatel). Add in the latest service pack (and pay an annual fee) and you get official, supported access to the main public IM services including MSN, AOL and Yahoo! Messenger through the new Office Communicator 2005 client. Communicator 2005 lets you search for people and see when they’ll be free to talk if they’re in a meeting. It also supports telephony (including PSTN, VoIP and mobile phone services depending on your PBX), video and other conferencing options, so you can get in touch with almost anyone from the same software.


SharePoint Portal Server
Vendor Microsoft
Product type Scalable portal server
IT requirements You need to run SharePoint on Windows Server 2003, and it works best with SQL Server 2000 and Active Directory, with Office 2003 on the desktop
Usability profile Easy to use, search, navigate and customise; users can customise the style and navigation, or go further an use Web Parts to connect in applications like Excel
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
$8,814 for single server licence with 50 client access licences; $40,764 for 500 users; $76,264 for 1000 users (volume licence discounts available from Microsoft resellers)

The server version of SharePoint has the same document libraries, discussion groups and meeting workspaces as Windows SharePoint Services, but the Audience features mean you can personalise content for users by creating rules based on their interests, security group, job, team or just about anything else. Each user gets a MySite automatically, with a public view that lets colleagues find the right people to talk to and a private view that presents information and applications tailored to your job. TeamSites work like MySites, but for collaborative groups. Saving documents from Office to Document Workspaces gives basic content management features, including versioning, simple routing, change notification through task panes and approvals.



More server-based collaboration solutions

Product
Highlights
Store &
manage
information

Interact with
information &
communicate

Develop custom
applications


Documentum eRoom Offers local web conferencing and integration with Microsoft Project and CAD applications. A hosted option is also available yes yes
Windows Sharepoint Services Bundled with Windows Server 2003, for quick team collaboration. Customise look and feel with FrontPage yes yes yes
IBM Workplace Collaboration Services Collaboration tool for use with multiple client devices. Links team spaces with instant messaging and Web conferencing yes yes yes
Orbiteam BSCW 4.2 Workflow-based collaboration tool, with an XML-RPC API and Java document management tools. Activity reports show how the system us being used yes yes yes
Branespace Brane Team collaboration tool, which integrates discussions with documents. Can be linked to Microsoft Project yes yes
Vignette Business Workspaces Web-based workspace and content management tools, with email integration. Can be used as part of an internal portal or as a standalone collaboration space yes yes yes


SuSE Linux Openexchange Server 4.1
Vendor Novell
Product type Linux-based collaboration and messaging platform
IT requirements Openexchange is a full Linux-based solution that includes the OS and the PostgresSQL database
Usability profile Web front ends means that no dedicated client is required, while connectors and open standards let users collaborate using familiar desktop applications if they prefer
Typical costs for 50-, 500-
and 1000-seat installations
£2,014 for 50 users; £15,756 for 500 users, or £11,975 with CLA agreement; £31,006 for 1000 users, or £23,565 with CLA agreement

Novell's SuSE Linux Openexchange Server is a Linux-based collaboration and messaging platform. Open standards, including WebDAV, mean that you can use Openexchange with a wide range of client applications -- including Microsoft Office. Connectors link the server platform to Microsoft Outlook and to Palm handhelds, so you can collaborate using familiar tools. In addition to calendaring and contact management, Openexchange offers discussion forums, a simple project management tool plus a bookmark and knowledge repository Integrated IM adds unusual features like shared text editors and mind-mapping tools to help distributed teams work together. Administration is via Web pages, so you don’t need to be familiar with Linux to look after the server.



More open source collaboration solutions

Product
Highlights
Store &
manage
information

Interact with
information &
communicate

Develop custom
applications


eGroupWare Enterprise portal and knowledge management package. Built using the PHP language, it is available for many operating systems yes yes yes
PHProjekt Project-driven groupware system, with chat and forum tools. Can be used to manage online voting, as well as sharing bookmarks yes yes yes
OpenGroupware.org Plugin-based application and portal server designed to work with OpenOffice.org, with tools for project and document management. Newsboard module acts as an intranet publishing system yes yes yes