This has been the cry of information workers everywhere who have tried to manage complex projects through email and shared folders. You’ve probably had a similar experience: you’re collaborating on a document with a team of people and are emailing it back and forth. Person A creates the initial document and Person B replies with some edits. Person C replies with additional edits at the same time Person A replies with the corrections from Person B. Person D takes this and rewrites a whole section of the document while Person B and C respond to Person A’s update. Pretty soon, it becomes very difficult to determine which document is the latest document.
The same scenario plays itself out when working in shared folders. Person A creates a document and puts it in a network share. Person B edits the document and saves it under a different file name. Person C edits it and re-saves the original. Person A tries to reconcile the two, while Person D opens Person B’s document and saves yet another version. Before you know it, you have the same problem you had with email: you can’t tell which document is the latest document. Additionally, you have a worse problem: you don’t have a clear history of how the document got to where it is in the first place.
The Social Office plugin for Liferay Portal is designed to answer this call for help by meeting the needs of teams who work together on projects. It’s easy to set up and makes it easier to facilitate collaboration for large and small businesses alike. With Liferay Social Office, you’ll have the system and your workgroups up and running in no time, with all the tools necessary for them to work more efficiently and more easily than before.
Social Office gives you the social collaboration features you need to do virtual teamwork. You can coordinate calendars and schedules, write shared blog entries, work together on documents, discuss issues in forums, document everything in a wiki, and more. The underlying theme is that all discussion and collaboration is kept with the asset. What does this mean? It means that the asset, whether that be a document, a thread, a blog entry, or a wiki article is the star around which all of the discussion and collaboration orbits.
Trying to collaborate on assets through email or server shares works up to a certain point–but then it fails because it’s a backwards way of doing the work. The asset in that scenario becomes secondary, and the “wrapper”–email or the share–becomes the primary target of the work. So instead of concentrating on the asset which the team is trying to produce, the focus turns to the wrapper. In the case of a shared folder, you might manually rename documents according to a numbering scheme so everyone can tell which is the latest–that is, until someone forgets to do so, or until someone accidentally overwrites the latest document. In the case of email, users try to navigate huge threads while passing an asset back and forth–until someone forgets to “reply all” or until someone starts a new thread (and maybe forgets to put the whole list on the thread). Working in the mediums of shared folders or email puts the focus on working with the wrapper, not the asset. And so the asset gets lost because they’re forced to focus on the wrapper instead of the asset. With Social Office, you’ll be free to concentrate on the assets–the system gets out of your way so that it’s a simple matter for your team to work together.