As a company that provides consulting and outsourcing services to medium-sized and corporate companies, we have to strike a balance between being on the cutting edge and not loosing the focus at the same time to translate new tools & methodologies into concrete benefits for our clients.
For quite a while now - as early as 2006 in fact - we have been posting on collaboration tools and how they can enhance interaction for distributed as well as local teams, including the possibilities of 3D virtual worlds such asSecondLife or Croquet.
At the same time, we have used many tools ourselves most of which we discarded as being not user-friendly, slow or not fitting to our requirements. Being in the same situation as other product development companies of having to co-ordinate people across three, sometimes four time-zones, we needed an application with a broad range of tools, the swiss army-knife of collaboration tools.
We were actually featured last year October in the Australian Financial Review and could only agree (yep, there was some shoulder tapping) that Theandb was "an example of globalisation at work and how the use of technology can compete with much larger companies". Some more quotes that i could not put any better:
"We could not have successfully moved the business to Australia and kept some of our longstanding, former clients without this technology," Ponthus says.
Theandb relies on the facility to consult with businesses across Europe and Australasia, helping them develop online strategies and implement web projects.
Theandb's work involves regular meetings to ensure everyone involved knows the stage a project has reached and what their responsibilities are."
The best thing about using this system is that there's no disagreement at the end of a meeting about what everyone needs to do for follow-up and what was said during the meeting because the project manager writes the notes directly into a whiteboard that everyone sees," Schliebitz says."
Back at that time we were using Marratech which was unfortunately bought up by Google.
Only last week we finally - after months of research and trying out way too many different web1.0 and 2.0 applications - we found the perfect replacement, an application that is even better than Marratech was and it goes by the name Elluminate. We will post more on this wonderful tool soon.
We have seen vast improvements in communication and the ability to collaborate with our clients since starting to have Elluminate. We can finally be literally on the same page again, share our desktops, write up meeting notes which everyone can read and comment on while the meeting is taking place, use the excellent whiteboarding features, paste in screenshots and doodle around on them; simply put it is like working together in the same office, only far more efficient because you can actually fully concentrate on what is at hand.
We are quite aware that using such tools gives us an advantage over other suppliers in the development outsourcing market and will continue to elaborate on our outsourcing framework and general set-up as we learn with our clients. We will post more on the framework we use and why we believe it to be unique shortly.