Collaboration via email sucks.
Collaboration using email is inherently broken. While Collabomatic … the company that I have co-founded base our business primarily on this hypothesis … this was truly validated recently in a real life scenario.
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Our basic premise with Collabomatic is that email for ad-hoc collaboration is broken … and we aim to fix this. Knowledge workers experience significant pain around using email for team projects, not the least of which includes fractured documents and revision history; splintered conversations with accidental omissions of people and lack of context around individual emails; and pain with fluid team membership. Ultimately managing files and participants within these collaborations becomes unruly and using email as a solution ultimately breaks down, leading to lost information. Existing solutions don’t completely solve the pains as they force users to change the way they work … either by forcing them to a 3rd party web site like google groups … or engaging a menacing IT team to install a product like sharepoint.
Collabomatic solves the pain by seamlessly integrating into the Windows shell and into Outlook to provide team functions that do not force the users to change the way that they work by integrating into normal Outlook use and Windows use. Users can continue to work as they always have but get all the benefits of collaboration solutions.
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I experienced the pains of email collaboration first hand recently when working on contract. One of the outputs from my consulting agreement was a test plan. This plan (a 25 page word doc) needed to be sent off for review by the stakeholders in the project. These reviewers in turn sent the document out to external reviewers for comment. 6 comment (all sent back to me via email) and 2 days working through these comments I finally had a second revision to get reviewed. This copy was sent to the project manager for sign off. Much to my surprise, I was being asked similar questions that I had been asked before. What the #$($#. Ok, long story short, I’m sure you can see where this is going, but the fie revisions had become so unruly that the document sent out for review was actually the same document as sent out originally. While I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details of how Collabomatic could have saved the day …. It sure does feel good when the pain that you envision you are solving is reinforced through personal experience.