Our habits, workflows and computing environment has changed a lot since 1973, when the encoding for ‘electronic mail’ was drafted and first transmitted over modems that measured speed in bauds.
But email didn’t evolve much. Sure, we can attach files, sort and store more emails. If you’re using Gmail, you’re probably in love with the threaded conversation view. But email is seriously lacking when you want to collaborate effectively, manage projects and share information across a team.
If you’re lucky, you’re probably getting 20-30 emails every day – work in any public facing environment and you can safely multiply that by 3. The problem is that important emails have a tendency to get lost in the everyday information noise: family, projects, work, friends. Setting up filters, labels and having a good ’email hygiene’ helps, but you’re missing out on an web application that is built to enhance your productivity and help you collaborate effectively online with your peers: Zenbe’s Shareflow.
Shareflow can be everything for everyone. It’s built for managing projects and sharing information in work/office scenarios – a central hub that everyone can come to upload files, comment and post updates.
But the great thing about Shareflow is that it can scale. From a hockey team discussing their strategy for their next game, uploading sketches, laying out plans, even adding match dates and a maps, to a newsroom discussing article ideas – all editors and writers pitching in transparently; to freelance workers communicating with their clients, discussing aspects and revisions of creative work like web site design.
The Zenbe team has posted an article about their uses of Shareflowwhich might help if you’re not sure what Shareflow can do for you.
Setting up and using Shareflow is a breeze when compared to other types of GTD (Getting Things Done) applications that have this kind of functionality (such as a private wiki). Since it leverages the SaaS (Software as a Service) concept, all the end users or team manager has to do is pick an username, a password and a name for your team (which will appear as the header of every “˜flow’ page).
A “˜flow’ is used to represent a project or a specific activity. Once you’ve set up an account, you can create your first flow and invite peers. Any peer can upload files (documents, pictures, archives, etc.), post plaintext messages and comments, links, add events, maps and even add emails.
Shareflow also leverages the “˜freemium’ revenue model. The free plan includes 5 flows and 25MB of space, enough to work with if you’re not uploading a lot of material or managing an extensive number of projects. To get over the storage limitation you could simply upload the larger files to services like Dropbox or SkyDrive and post the link in the Shareflow interface.
The Basic plan includes 25 flows and 5GB of storage for $20/month which should satisfy the requirements of most people who plan on using this service for work. More plans are available from the Administrator Control Panel which can be accessed using the “˜admin’ link in the top right corner of the web page. From there you can also modify the team name, set the time zone, check quotas for each of the flows and delete unnecessary ones.
Another benefit of using Shareflow is that it keeps you focused. All the information you need to work with is in this sandbox that receives just relevant content. Say goodbye to checking your email and realizing 3 hours later that you’ve been watching House on Hulu.
If you need a way how to collaborate effectively online, Shareflow is a good way to do it, and gets my recommendation. If you’re looking for more ways to collaborate online, check out this category page and Sam also wrote about another Zenbe product called Zenbe Mail.