Local company Jive Software is readying what appears to be an extremely compelling team collaboration suite called Clearspace. I’ve seen a lot of job postings for Jive in the pdxMindShare newsletter, but never really looked into what they were building. Nino pointed out the the cNet review which has some nice screenshots.
Clearspace looks to be bringing together blogs, wikis, forums, and document sharing into a single product, perfect for teams. Clearspace reminds me a lot of SharePoint, but who likes using SharePoint? I’d love an alternative and this looks like a good one. Sharing information on teams is often a pain. I know my current team at work has come back to email again (yuck) as the primary means of cummunication, even after installing SharePoint. Email is horrible for team communication as messages are easily lost and ignored, and they are often disruptive to workflow. We occasionally use the SharePoint forums, but most of the time people have to send an email pointing to the discussion because it’s just not part of the natural communication flow yet (not entirely SharePoint’s fault).
Blogs, forums, and wikis are ideal for team communication because they can be viewed out-of-bound from your current workflow. You can view them on your own schedule and can much easily filter unwanted information. Say I find a great new tool (like Firebug), I can simply blog about it instead of emailing everybody. Plus I can have related conversations on the forum thread or blog comment thread that only involve the interested parties. The biggest weakness of SharePoint is that it lacks good tools for knowledge sharing. It’s ok for documents, lists, and some wiki-like functionality. But, I’m looking forward to seeing the blogs, blog reading, and wiki tools in Clearspace, and if they can really help facilitate discussion and knowledge sharing.
Though it’s not likely we’ll see Clearspace adoption on my team, because it’s currently so Microsoft tool focused, I’ll still be interested in trying it out for my own interest for use on side and future projects.