Cloud enabled collaboration systems are not useless. They are constructive technologies that help enterprises build on the existing or traditional collaboration systems.
The first significant characteristic of cloud based collaboration technologies is that they are integrative and are designed to enhance traditional systems. As a result, they work harmoniously with traditional applications like email, shared files systems, applications like, Adobe, Microsoft Office, and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) systems like SharePoint or Hummingbird or Interwoven or Documentum.
These collaboration applications cloud enable the traditional systems. Cloud enabled systems are accessed via a web browser and works well online and offline with no blips and hiccups. The dedicated user interface makes it possible for traditional users to transition to the new browser based version of their software. The legacy systems are empowered as collaborators now find capabilities for real time interaction, simultaneous co-authoring and instant messaging.
The collaboration process does not compromise on security. All existing security systems are imported and integrated into the new collaboration system. Audit trials of collaborative interactions track user activities and access rights ensure that users do not wander into unauthorized territories. A proper balance can be maintained between enterprise policy and the collaborative environment.
Since Collaborative tools for the cloud are device agnostic and file format agnostic, it becomes possible to use a wide range of physical devices (including mobile devices) and file formats with traditional collaboration systems. This in turn provides opportunities for creating public, private or hybrid clouds to reflect the existing business policies.
IT Administrators find the flexible IT platform attractive. It allows organic configurations and accommodates different provisioning requirements across groups and units. The collaborative network can also be extended to include people who are extraneous to the enterprise network, with absolute control over their access rights and permissions.
The future of cloud enabled collaboration is bright. Collaboration tools are expected to facilitate the emergence of social business networks, synchronize corporate file collections into personal computers and mobile devices, and personalize collaborative tools that allow systems to filter and highlight data that is constantly used by particular users. The hypothesis has been tested. The stage has been set and cloud based collaboration is quietly being brought into operation as employees adopt these tools with enthusiasm.