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Team Collaboration Open Source Options - Where Do I Start?

The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.

It’s a privilege to join the team of bloggers here on Collaboration Loop.  I consider myself a collaboration practitioner; I work for Novell as a Senior Knowledge Manager, responsible for the company’s collaboration architecture and infrastructure.  For the last two years, I have led a project to help Novell understand its employees’ collaboration requirements and determine what infrastructure would best fulfill them, and to establish a collaboration infrastructure at the company -- one that will give us a strategic advantage over our competitors.  My work has included documenting requirements and processes, creating a collaboration architecture, conducting a gap analysis of our current collaboration systems, working to secure executive funding and commitment, getting internal organization's commitment and alignment, conducting a request for information that was sent to thirty six collaboration vendors, conducting several pilots, and selecting a system.  In this, and future blogs, I will share my experiences with you. 

In addition to my experience as a collaboration manager, I am working with Brigham Young University on several research papers on the topic of online communities.  My most current paper is on the topic of how to motivate people to contribute to online communities.  You can download the paper at http://e-business.fhbb.ch/eb/publications.nsf/id/390.  Also, I am an enthusiast of, and contributor to, Open Source collaboration technologies.  I will share my findings from this research as well.  

Let me begin by sharing what I learned from my research on asynchronous team-based collaboration solutions. My evaluation focused on enterprise requirements for these systems, and therefore my analysis is biased towards enterprise IT management.  Some of the most popular vendors in this space include Akiva, Alfresco, Basecamp, Drupal, Mayflower, OpenACS, phpCollab, Ramius, and Xoops

In order to better evaluate these products, I broke them down into three categories: