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Journal NetFu's Journal: Enterprise Collaboration Software Choices

Now that I've checked more into Zimbra and how it compares to Lotus Notes and other collaboration software, it turns out that Zimbra is not, in fact, a traditional behemoth collaboration software, but it does do the simple workgroup collaboration part of what Lotus Notes handles, namely email and calendaring collaboration. And of course, like any tool that doesn't try to be everything to everyone, it performs those specific tasks far better than a tool like Lotus Notes does.

Lotus Notes tries and fails miserably at doing everything everyone wants in an enterprise collaboration software. It's not that Notes doesn't try to do an admirable number of things in an admirable number of ways, it's just that it doesn't come close enough to what modern corporate users expect for all those things it offers. So the end result is that users hate it and tell their IT guys (like me) how bad it sucks. Notes was great 10+ years ago, but the world has changed faster than Notes has, assured death for any software product.

So I hear companies I'm talking to dreading the idea of moving from open source email/collaboration software to "enterprise" software like Microsoft Exchange Server as they grow. But huge growth in these companies is unavoidable, so they think they have no choice because "there is no open source equivalent to Exchange". Outsourcing Microsoft Exchange server hosting is fairly common because not only do users hate the idea of moving to Exchange, IT people do, too. And the Lotus Notes option? They only laugh at the mention of Notes, many saying they could swear that Lotus Notes disappeared like Lotus 1-2-3 or SGI (both of which still exist, by the way).

Anyway, as a LONG-time open source advocate, I can't believe there's no real open source alternative to Notes or Exchange. Just can't be. Well, what about the first one I found, Jive's Clearspace? Well, it's not completely open source, but from what I've read it's at least partly open source. Then there's Microsoft's Sharepoint Server, but I'm sure that would be a part of a package with Exchange, which is what people are desperately trying to avoid. Who knows, maybe Zimbra along with Clearspace could be a viable alternative to the dreaded enterprise software that nearly every user agrees is a modern corporate fiasco.

The only corporate users who would not agree that behemoth enterprise collaboration software is a modern disaster are the users with a vested interest in keeping it like in-house developers. Well, I'm sorry, but if you're perpetuating this problem in the modern workplace, you are part of that problem.

So, I'll be back soon with more reviews of the new "lightweight" enterprise collaboration software...
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Enterprise Collaboration Software Choices

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