Understanding Collaboration as a Service in Cloud Computing - dummies

Understanding Collaboration as a Service in Cloud Computing

By Judith Hurwitz, Robin Bloor, Marcia Kaufman, Fern Halper

In the future, companies are likely to offer unified communications (an integration of telephony, instant messaging, and e-mail) as a service for cloud computing. Collaboration is one of the natural markets for cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). There’s enough bandwidth and all companies are connecting to the Internet.

What companies are focused on collaboration as a service today? The following is a list to get you started:

  • MicrosoftLive has made its first foray into collaboration as a service with its Meeting Live offering. Today Microsoft offers Meeting Live and live messaging services. In addition, Microsoft offers the ability to run its email server (Exchange as a Service). In the future, the company will have online versions of many of its collaborative applications.

  • LotusLive is IBM’s collaborative environment that includes a set of tools including social networking, instant messaging, and the ability to share files and conduct online meetings. IBM is publishing interfaces to allow other collaborative tools to be integrated into the platform.

  • GoogleApps from Google, which has as many as 1.5 million businesses that use its various collaborative applications including e-mail, document management, and instant messaging. It publishes APIs so third-party software developers can integrate with the platform.

  • Cisco Webex Collaboration platform comes from Cisco (which bought Webex in 2007) and it has become the centerpiece of its collaboration SaaS platform. It will probably use this platform to add unified communications as a service.

  • Zoho, an open-source collaboration platform, includes email, document management, project management, and invoice management. It offers APIs to its environment and has begun to integrate its collaboration tools with other companies, such as Microsoft. Zoho offers support for a fee.

  • Citrix GotoMeeting offers an online meeting service as part of its larger suite of virtualization products.