The 3Cs of collaboration

By : |March 31, 2006 0

Aparna Lal

NEW DELHI: Collaborate! This has been the latest buzz among businesses, be it SMEs or big enterprises. While companies see several tangible and intangible benefits of collaborating, there is a big gap that needs to be filled and a lot of awareness and education is required to take the enterprises up the Collaborative Maturity Model (CMM).

Communication, whether verbal or written is the most important channel for exchanging information and ideas in an organization, as of today the most commonly used medium for communication is email. While the market is flooded with communication tools like instant messengers (IM), Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) clients, web conferencing tools etc the problem comes when one wishes to use them all together in tandem with each other. The scare of integrating these tools, configuring them, puts off many a user.

“While everyone wants to collaborate, a lot needs to be done to take the end user from level one of the CMM model that is emailing to the nth level of knowledge-management, to realize productivity gains,” opines Ashwani Chandok, business development manager, content and collaborations solutions, Oracle India.

Oracle has taken a leap in this direction by enhancing its content management solution with collaborative workspace functionality in its Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g. Based on the ‘3C’ model of collaboration, the suite offers Communication tools, Content Management tools as well as Context capabilities.

Built on Oracle Database 10g and Oracle Application Server 10g, Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g is the first of its kind to support seamless management of all structured and unstructured enterprise information on a single architecture.

Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g adds enhancements to content services, real-time collaboration, unified messaging and introduces new features with Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g Workspaces.

According to Ashwani, “Oracle Collaboration Suite has raised the bar for collaborative software by enabling users to manage and deliver the right information to the right people in the context of their current activity. Oracle’s integrated tools enable users to communicate from anywhere, at any time and with any device-making collaboration a far more valuable corporate asset.”

Built on the Java framework, the suite makes use of the Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and offers several out-of-the-box services that can be consumed by the calling program. SOA allows collaboration to become a seamless part of the application infrastructure, helping drive higher efficiencies and levels of productivity.

Content Services

Formerly known as Oracle Files, the collaboration suite’s content services enable customers to gain control of their enterprise information and policies to support regulatory compliance and mitigate risks associated with poorly managed content. It offers enhanced file management and sharing capabilities and adds new document lifecycle and records management functionality and business process automation capabilities.

Communication Services

Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g’s Unified Messaging provides a unified platform for managing email, voicemail and fax messages in the highly scalable and reliable Oracle Database 10g. By supporting standards like the Push-IMAP protocol, Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g Unified Messaging enables delivery of emails to a variety of wireless devices over public networks, reducing the cost of deploying this solution.

Oracle Collaboration Suite 10g Workspaces introduces new capabilities for collaboration that enable project teams to easily organize and manage documents, messages, meetings, tasks and discussions within a cohesive secure environment. The workspace captures all activities, discussions, meetings, actions, tasks and emails related to a particular project in one location. This enables the users to capture, manage, find and utilize all the knowledge. It leverages the capabilities of the underlying database to manage structured information and ensure that assets are properly managed for policy, records and as corporate knowledge assets.

Context Services

Using the context services of the collaboration suite customized interfaces can be developed with the existing application programming interfaces (APIs). Any third-party solution or customized solutions can in turn call and consume the out-of-box communication and content services of the collaboration suite.

Can collaboration be disruptive?

Well yes, but not if used properly. According to Ashwani, a collaborative environment can be effective only if implemented properly. While the fact that information about anything, anybody is available at a mouse-click can be disruptive the control for the same lies in the hands of its users who can make relevant policies and create access rights. The collaboration strategy of an organization has to be in sync with its work culture and needs to be properly communicated to one and all.

Proper implementation of such systems can ensure an organization’s growth up the CMM ladder into the realm of knowledge management, which can lead to better productivity and cost advantage.

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