A Basic Guide to Online Collaboration

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This FAQ will try to answer some of your questions about online collaboration and working collaboratively online.

What Is Online Collaboration?

Simply put, online collaboration lets a group of people work together in real-time over the Internet. Those engaged in online collaboration can work together on word processor documents, PowerPoint presentations and even for brainstorming, all without needing to be in the same room at the same time. There are many great online collaboration tools available, which can help your team accomplish its goals.

A web conference enables people to meet online in real-time. While presentations may be given and notes taken, a web conference is much the same as a face-to-face meeting in that it’s more about a discussion than working together on the documents being presented, for example. Online collaboration, on the other hand, involves a team working together, often at the same time, and on the same documents.

Key Features of an Online Collaboration Tool

First of all, a successful online collaboration tool needs to be easy to use and set up. Then, it needs to be secure and to have the features that will fit your purposes - these are different for every team. So if you mainly want to hold online brainstorming sessions, for example, it’s important that the brainstorming tool you choose has a good whiteboard functionality. Other useful features are the ability to upload documents, a calendar, and notifications by e-mail when changes have been made to a document.

Is Online Collaboration Secure?

All reputable online collaboration tools have security features which ensure that anyone who is not invited to your workplace can’t see the documents that you are working on. In addition, most tools offer encryption, which is an additional layer of security that makes your documents unreadable to those with malicious intentions. A good, secure tool, will also allow the owners of the online collaboration workspace to set authorization levels for its participants. This means that while some people will be able to only read the documents, others can make changes but not everyone can delete documents.

Virtual collaboration is good for organizations of any size, as long as there is interest in working together over the Internet. Not only is online collaboration great for working with your colleagues, but it's also good when working on documents with clients. Because it helps create a sense of teamwork and transparency, it can even help improve client relationships.

Online Collaboration Can Help Business

The Internet has enabled an increasingly dispersed workforce, and it's not uncommon to see modern-day employees working with people from all over the world. Collaborating online is the perfect way to diminish the distance between employees, as they can work together on the same documents, at the same time as if they were all in the same room. This means that projects can be done much faster, as there is no need to send documents back and forth between offices, and it also means that communication between employees is improved.