What is a good collaboration platform for non-geeks?

Lance N Lawton September 26, 2010
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I need a free networking / collaboration platform, which will be usable by a small non-profit organization, where most members are non-techno. So they handle e-mail OK, but struggle with online forums etc.

I want to be able to share files, hold group discussions and provide an event calendar to which everyone can contribute with not too much complexity. I also need to be able create and edit user accounts and configure notifications as the admin, rather than depending on group members to login and configure their own settings.

Something that lets people do as much as possible by e-mail, without needing to login often, is what I think we need.

So far we’ve tried Google groups, Google sites, Ning & Buddypress. All have proven too complex for our non-geek user base.

Can someone suggest something? Thanks.

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  1. Tina
    November 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Lance,

    which platform did you end up using? How is your experience with it so far? Please share!

  2. Anonymous
    October 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Hi
    Gbridge
    http://www.gbridge.com/

    Gbridge is a free software that lets you remotely control PCs, sync folders, share files, and chat securely and easily. An extension of Google's gtalk service, Gbridge automatically forms a collaborative, encrypted VPN (Virtual Private Network) that connects your computers and your friends' computers directly and securely with patented technology. Gbridge has many unique features.

  3. Guest
    September 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Here's my attempt at translating your needs (for my sake, and others possibly wanting to help):

    -Intuitiveness and ease of use being a huge priority in your search. If it's not easy to use for non tech-savvy users, it's useless to you.
    -Small business/non profit collaboration/business management tool
    -File collaboration
    -User collaboration and input (discussion)
    -Calendar for event planning
    -As much email friendliness and integration as possible

    Sounds to me like you could use something like WORKetc. The WORKetc platform is a combination of features from all areas of business management, and it allows collaboration on all aspects as well. It's built with intuitiveness and ease of use being one of the main concepts in mind, and offers a high level of email integration. To be honest, no matter how unfriendly your users are to tech, it is reasonable to assume they will find WORKetc easier to use than their current email application.

    It has all the features you've requested, but more as well. You can compare WORKetc feature by feature with other systems here: http://www.worketc.com/compare

  4. Lew Hundley
    September 27, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    If you believe that the Google offerings are too complex for your users, then your users are not sophisticated enough to do what they need using the internet and it's apps. I don't mean this in a negative way, but Google is pretty easy on the complexity scale. Perhaps by lifting your users knowledge a bit, with some good tutorials and some instruction, you can have them meet the answer to their needs halfway.

    I tend to agree with Jessica's previos comment about doing it by email. If that is what they are familiar with, then perhaps that would be best. MS Word currently has a good collaboration feature for writing documents, but if Google would be a challenge for your users, they are not going to get this Word feature.

    Also, depending upon how immediate you want the discussions, and security needs, consider using an Instant Messenging app with logging turned on to capture the content.

    I wish you luck!

  5. Jessica Cam W.
    September 27, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Hmm, if your teammates seem more comfortable with email, why not have email discussions? For calendars, you can have a shared Google Calendar and to share files, attachments are the easiest way to go, beside from uploading to a file host like MediaFire.

    Other than that, Wiggio seems like a good candidate for the group site you want. Here's a 2-minute video introduction to see if it's sort of what you're looking for.

  6. M.S. Smith
    September 27, 2010 at 4:27 am

    I've used Zoho on projects in the past and found it fairly simple and flexible. We have a post about Zoho here: http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/zoho/

  7. Paul Chen
    September 27, 2010 at 2:37 am

    Hi Lance,

    I am a product expert from Teczo. We provide web-based collaboration platform for organizations to discuss ideas, share files, and track task progress. With proper setting, it can send out email notifications to participants whenever there is an update inside the platform. The collaborative platform utilizes a very simple and user-friendly forum template that non-geeks can pick it up within minutes.

    You can sign up a Teczo free trial account at http://trial.teczo.com and see if our collaboration platform can fit your needs.

    Feel free to drop me an email at paul.chen@teczo.com. For non-profit organization, we offer large discounts.

    Hope the above helps :)

    Paul Chen
    Product Expert
    http://www.teczo.com

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