Conversation vs. content based collaboration
Many collaborative tools have hit the market during recent years. For some, they have already transformed the way they collaborate with colleagues, co-students, customers etc. For others, email with attachments is still the most used tool for collaboration, even though email was never meant for collaboration as such.
Firstly, let’s start by clarifying why email with attachments is not a first choice collaborative tool. The reason is simple. When you attach a file to an email and send it out to 10 people, the attached file is copied from its original place and sent out to 10 different mailboxes. If the file has a purely informative scope, everything is basically fine. Probably, if the 10 people + the sender are supposed to alter the content of the file, like eg. working scheme for the coming week, or budget planning for the coming year, things suddenly get complicated. In reality, they will reply with their altered file. For example, under a different file name, some will probably open the file from the email, alter and attach again, but the changes are not saved. Consequantly, everything turn into chaos.
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Conversation-based tools vs content-based tools
Fortunately, there are alternatives to this problem. In this article, we will discuss conversation-based tools their advantages vs. content-based tools.
A conversation based collaboration tool is based on a dialogue between two or more people. It is normally possible to add content to the conversation. However, this content will have to be added to the conversation from somewhere or created for the conversation. Therefore, just like email, there will exist at least two copies of the same content, or the content will just exist inside the tool.
A conversation based collaboration tool is fast and efficient for ad hoc or small projects, discussions, approvals etc. Examples could be Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Slack, Basecamp etc.
A content-based collaboration tool is based on content. This means that the collaborative features are added to the content. In other words – the dialogue or project is added “on top” of the content, so all participants will be invited to co-edit simultaneously. Thus, the content will only exist in one place, in one copy and will always be up to date.
Noteworthy a content-based collaboration tool should be preferred for content that requires strong governance. For example, meeting schemes, budgets, customer data, product data etc.
Governing collaboration tools
Depending on how strong governance you need (who has access to what and with which permissions to read, write, share etc.), you can find a few examples of content-based collaboration tools, no to be confused with file sharing services.
Examples could be Dropbox (weak governance, few features) Sharing feature in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint (Office 365 and 2013, 2016) (potential strong governance, few features), Google Docs (weak governance, few features), Microsoft SharePoint (strong governance with many features).
Finally, if you want to experience a powerful content-based collaboration tool, SimplySo might just be the right for you. Based on Microsoft Office 365 and SharePoint Online you will get a simplified user experience with all the relevant features to collaborate internally and externally. It’s simple.
Data stays in Office 365 / SharePoint Online at all times, making SimplySo perfect as a UI for all users in a small organization or as an additional UI for certain user groups in larger organizations. It’s simple.