Collaboration Isn't Just for the Big Guys

Last Updated Oct 10, 2007 2:11 PM EDT

The rise of collaboration technology is often associated with the increase in large, global corporations. In fact, most people view tools like voice-over-IP, web conferencing and collaboration software as geared for larger firms. We usually see the commercials with people in large offices conferencing with their counterparts in India, Japan or the UK about some proposed merger with global implications. But as a recent survey and whitepaper by Computer Week and Citrix Systems points out, small and medium-sized businesses can, and are, reaping rewards from these tools. Perhaps even greater rewards than many larger businesses.

For instance, as the whitepaper points out, small businesses can be more nimble in implementing new tools, whether they be software suites or web-based, because of the smaller number of employees that need to be set up with the new tools and trained on them. Also, the prevalence of freelancers and off-site help at smaller companies which are trying to remain flexible and cut back on overhead lends itself to use of these tools.

As the whitepaper also emphasizes, web conferencing can be especially effective for small businesses that can't afford travel costs but nonetheless have to communicate with far-flung partners, suppliers and resources. The survey that spawned the report found that small and medium-sized companies take advantage of web conferencing more often than their larger counterparts. The whitepaper even includes a case study showing how a smaller operation implemented a new set of collaboration tools and where they saw the benefits. The whitepaper is free, but you will, of course, have to hand over some of the requisite contact and purchase-power information.