Open source and SAAS based Groupware

Just to expand on the topic of knowledge management that I touched on in a previous post, I thought I would touch on the broad topic of Groupware. This whole field seems to be expanding and evolving rapidly, particularly in the area of open source and the cloud. Many of these systems have grown to include things like sharing of web pages, documents and files, project management, customer relationship management, corporate social networking and collaboration. Here is some more information for those who want to dig deeper.
This area seems to have evolved from proprietary products like Microsoft Exchange/Sharepoint and IBM/Lotus Notes, which are still in use in many enterprises.But there seems to be a new breed evolving which makes use of the latest web technologies, open source, and the famous cloud. I have been following a lively thread on this subject on another discussion group, and it seems to have taken on a life of its own. There are many approaches, alternatives and combinations of features. The market seems to have fragmented. Everyone seems to have their own favorites, and its difficult to compare. The truth is that each one has advantages and disadvantages, and you can’t really make a selection choice unless you have a good handle on your needs and strategy. In some cases, you are really buying into a framework or development cycle, so you want to consider flexibility and ability to fit in with your other systems. Integration is also very important for efficiency. You don’t want to have to re-enter information from this system into other ones, like your ERP. Here are some of the good ones to consider:
SAAS based (Easy to use, but be careful about lock-in)
Google Apps
Zoho Office
Google Wave

Open Source based (You can have the best of both worlds at the expense of time)
eGroupware (and forks like Tine 2.0)
Group Office
Open Groupware
Feng Office
Mindtouch (based on Dekawiki)
Open Atrium (based on Drupal)
Zarafa and Zimbra (based on MS Exchange design)
Ofuz (based on social networking design)

Note – this list is not meant to be exhaustive, and there are new ones popping up all the time, new versions etc. I have a feeling this post will draw some opinions and comments.

About fblauer

Fred Blauer is a senior consultant with more than 20 years of experience providing information systems consulting, ERP implementation, syste
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