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Online Collaboration - What is it?

Online collaboration is a very useful business tool that many companies use today. It is especially helpful when co-workers are in different locations but it is also used when they are in the same building because of its convenience factor. But what is online collaboration?

Online collaboration is a service supplied by a website that allows those with access to meet and share documents. Not only can participants share documents, they can also update them in real time. This is where the collaboration part comes in. Co-workers in different cities can get together and work on a project in the same way they would if they were in the same room.

An employee in Los Angeles and one in Paris can work together on a single file. When the person in LA updates the file, the person in Paris sees the changes instantly and he can make changes as well. Collaboration allows everyone in the online meeting room to see the presenter's computer desktop and anyone with permission can alter files.

Using a service that provides online collaboration makes the whole process much easier to implement. The software end of it is maintained by the web service. All the company has to do is pay for access and the employees can log into the collaboration site from anywhere using any computer.

Online collaboration has many practical applications. It can be used for presenting proposals to clients. Engineers that work in remote field offices can use such a service to get instant blueprint corrections. Companies can use collaboration to train employees that live on the other side of the globe. Online collaboration services can be generic and useable by most any type of business or it can be specialized for particular businesses such as the medical laboratory industry or engineering.

There are several websites that provide online collaboration; some of them offer the service for free for limited time or for a limited amount of users. The price of online collaboration varies according to the number of participants allowed at any one time. Big corporations that want to use such a site for a large numbers of employees can expect to pay several hundred dollars a month. Small businesses that only use the service occasionally can pay a per use fee or a more affordable monthly fee, so online collaboration is within the price reach of any type of business.

With online collaboration, co-workers can share audio files, video files, spreadsheets, calendars, and standard business files like docs and text files. Some services provide the ability to share the use of software such as CAD programs. Services that cater to businesses like heath care and construction that are required to do compliance reporting even have built in audits, revision tracking, and compliance report generation.

Online collaboration has become very common in the business world today, even though it was not even heard of just a few short years ago. The internet has opened a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to keeping in touch with staff and co-workers in remote locations. Online collaboration saves companies money while increasing productivity.


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