Collaborative tools are classified based on their level of functionality concerning collaboration and document managing capability. Tools can be grouped according to their capacity to handle the following four activities −
- Group and File Document Handling
- Computer Conferencing
- Electronic Meeting System
- Electronic Workspace
Group and File Document Handling
The core functionality of this category involves working with documents and handling files.
Employees only have a shared view and limited access to files/documents, while there is also a possibility for individual editing, documenting/managing files, and storing it in a central database, as well as collective authoring and revision of documents.
Synchronous work on documents can also be a part of a group document handling tool in addition to basic communication capabilities such as e-mail notification and tweets.
There is a possibility that employees see and work on documents simultaneously, or on each other’s screen.
Computer conferencing provides space for asynchronous and threaded meetings as well for real-time text talk and real-time meetings. Files and documents are shared.
Audio and video conferencing are quite common mode of communication.
Electronic Meeting System
Meeting conduction is the basic functionality of any business organization.
Meetings can either be regular (same time, same address), synchronous (same time, different address), or asynchronous (different time, different address).
Members of the meetings are notified through mail, and they can chat, conduct real-time discussions, using audio and video conferencing facilities. Members can also participate in surveys (anonymously if preferred), make group discussions, and share documents and files.
Participants can show and annotate Power Point presentations, share live software applications, and even work simultaneously on documents.
Finally, meeting-centered activities support the meeting process including its set-up, maintenance of the agenda, and distribution of the minutes after the meeting.
The primary idea of having an electronic workspace is to provide team members with a common space to coordinate and organize their work.
Teams can centrally store documents, work with them, solve problems through discussions, keep to-do lists and address books with information about group contacts, and even track project milestones and project interactions.
There are workspaces for different teams, and individuals may be members of several workspaces.
Certainly, the above classification is not limited. There are several other functional-level categories such as Electronic mail, Electronic calendaring, Work own, Group decision support, Collaborative writing, and electronic learning.