I was introduced to Basecamp, which is a project management software, during one of our board meetings and wanted to find out more on how it will benefit our team. Please click: http://ridz.sg/blog/2010/08/what-is-basecamp-and-how-i-use-it/ to read more about this online collaboration.
I've been using google docs for many of our department projects and wanted to break down the benefits of each here:
- User creates a document (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.) and the document "lives" in the cloud.
- User invites other users and gives them certain privileges (read only, edit, etc.)
- The doc is always available since it "lives" in the cloud
- Multiple people can be editing and/or viewing the doc at the same time - nice feature if two or more people are collaborating on a conference call and working on the doc at the same time.
- Users can export the doc to MSWord format, for example if the user wants to get it onto their desktop
- Feature set is good but is pretty basic - enough so that some users may not have all the cool features that they enjoy on their desktop apps
- Biggest benefit is that many users can see and edit the document from many locations at any time since it's living in the cloud
- Biggest downside is that some of the more advanced app features from desktop apps may not be available
- User creates their document on their desktop and uploads a copy to Basecamp
- User can specify who can see and download the document
- Users who want to work on a document download it to their desktop and the upload it again when they are done. Users can specify whether or not to send an email notification when a new revision has been uploaded
- Basecamp allows you to see previous iterations of the document - all versions are stored permanently
- Basecamp has tons of nice project management features:
- Basic project calendar
- Allows you to set up and assign milestones to specific dates and people
- Alerts assignees when a milestone is imminent or is past due
- Assign To-Do's with deadlines to individuals
- Track hours worked
- Stores threads of conversations (messages) in a central location so all project-related conversations are easy to find
- Nice email notification features when changes are made to project components
- Iterative storage of project-related docs
- Available apps for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry
- $24/month pay as you go vs Google Docs which are free, but if you are needing some project management features then the price is WELL worth it.
- Biggest upside: great project management features, very easy to set up and use, love the pay as you go (no long-term contracts), nice conversation thread management, nice email reminders
- Biggest downside in comparison to Google docs: If users need to collaborate and edit a document simultaneously someone will need to set up a webinar (free for up to 3 people using Acrobat Connect, though there are several other free and paid screen-sharing software apps out there)
I guess it ultimately comes down to preference in choosing a platform that best works for your team.