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Document and file collaboration are the tools or systems set up to help multiple people work together on a single document or file to achieve a single final version. Normally, this is software that allows teams to work on a single document, such as a Word document, at the same time from different computer terminals or mobile devices. Hence, document or file collaboration today is a system allowing people to collaborate across different locations using an Internet, or "cloud", enabled approach such as for Wikis such as Wikipedia.
Document collaboration in a general sense simply refers to more than one person co-authoring a document. However, most people today when talking about document collaboration are referring to (generally internet based) ways for a team of workers to work together on an electronic document from computer terminals based anywhere in the world.
Early online document collaboration used email, whereby comments would be written in the email with the document attached. The problem was that this was not a document-centric solution (i.e. Comments and discussions around the document were separate from the document itself). Today, the best document collaboration tools are more document-centric. These systems provide a user with a document-centric collaboration experience because they allow users to tag the document and add content specific comments, maintaining a complete version history and records and storing all comments and activities associated around a document. For this reason, an increasing number of firms are using email less and file sharing and document collaboration tools more.
Most collaboration systems require a server computer, which maintains copies of the documents for remote access. The server computer may be operated by the organization owning the documents, or outsourced to some service. The latter is often referred to as cloud computing.
- Real-time commenting and instant messaging features to enhance speed of project delivery
- Presence indicators to identify when others are active on documents owned by another person
- Personal activity feeds and email alert profiles to keep abreast of latest activities per file or user
- Ability to collaborate and share files with users outside the company firewall
- Company security and compliance framework
- Change history of files and documents
- Ability to handle large files
- Frost & Sullivan predicts that the cloud industry is set to grow by 39% every year until 2015 when it will be worth $5.8 billion.
- Forrester is even more optimistic, predicting that Software as a service and Web 2.0 applications will be worth $22 billion by 2013.
- The IDC says the cloud computing market is set to hit $44.2 billion by 2013 and that Cloud-related services will grow at more than five times the rate of the IT industry in 2011, up 30% from 2010.
Notable document collaboration software
- The Cloud, Day 10: Storing Data in the Cloud. PCWorld. Retrieved on 2013-08-10.
- How To Mark Up Documents In The Cloud - Social Business - Document. Informationweek.com (2011-11-03). Retrieved on 2013-08-10.
- SkyDox aims to reduce email. SPTechWeb (2011-08-18). Retrieved on 2013-08-10.
- Social Collaboration reinvented by Kerio
- Cloud Computing to become Mainstream in 2012, says Frost & Sullivan | Control Engineering Asia. Ceasiamag.com (2011-12-12). Retrieved on 2013-08-10.