Application takes the headache out of collaboration

According to old wives and fortune cookies, too many cooks in a kitchen will almost always spoil the broth. Likewise, too many contributors to a document will at the very least make a big mess, particularly if every contributor is working with an electronic version. This is exactly the sort of situation, among others, that KMtechnologies’ work2gether 2.0 has been designed to straighten out.

work2gether 2.0 is an intranet/extranet application developed to allow users to publish and store information with the help of groups and folders, or objects. Each object has its own meta-data including the author, creation date, description and keywords. The software’s document management tools enable users to reserve and publish new versions of documents, while saving previous versions.

According to Wilson Kung, IT Specialist at Bragg Photonics Inc. in Montreal, these features were key determiners when choosing work2gether as the company’s document management tool.

“We had a problem with handling document control and products,” Kung said. “People would create projects and upload files into our in-house intranet, so we had a problem with version control. People would make a change to a document and lose the previous one, so we were looking for something that offered document and version control. We found that work2gether had a Web interface program, was easy to install, easy to use and was affordable.”

Kung explained that Bragg Photonics uses work2gether for two purposes: keeping a handle on documents and controlling internal projects.

“Overall, it has solved a lot of problems for us,” Kung said.

Connie Moore, a Washington, D.C.-based vice-president at Giga Information Group, suggested that any company that does group work should consider some sort of document management system.

“These kinds of tools allow you to collaborate on documents on an enterprise basis. It’s very easy to rapidly lose track of correct versions of a document, and is frustrating to employees who were hired to do much more than cut and paste text into documents,” she said.

The graphical interface for work2gether uses Java-Script modules, and all information stored in the program is saved in XML. While the number of users is unlimited, the product was designed for medium-sized companies of up to 1,000 users.

“We target high-growth companies,” said Luc Lacroix, president and CEO of Montreal-based KMtechnologies, which develops work2gether 2.0.

Lacroix explained that unlike its competitors, the application features four major applications in one software package.

“We offer document management, collaboration, contact management and sales force automation,” Lacroix said. “All of our competitors focus on one technology, but we offer a blend of applications.”

Another key differentiator is work2gether’s ability to operate in seven languages, which Lacroix describes as one of the product’s most important features. Currently, the application can be run in English, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese.

“This is critical for Europe,” he said. “The software is truly multilingual. We manage non-Latin characters including Cyrillic or Japanese characters.”

The product was designed for the use of all employees within an organization, but does feature security measures to restrict access to sensitive information. Security is decentralized, which means that the user can define and create new partners without having to consult a network specialist or administrator. According to Kung, approximately 80 per cent of Bragg Photonics’ employees regularly use work2gether.

“It’s very straightforward and simple,” Kung said, adding that minimal product training was needed before the tool was implemented.

work2gether 2.0 is currently offered through ASPs, ISPs and resellers.