Sharing Files with your Teammates Online
A friend of mine recently asked how she could easily share files with her teammates while they worked on a project. Here are some great tools to securely do just that.
A free service for people to store documents online and share them with other people. Simple, easy to use, and you can set it up yourself without any help.
Note, Google docs is not just for sharing files, it also has online editors for them (e.g. you can edit Excel, Word, files, etc. via their website), although it doesn’t have all of same functionality as Microsoft Office.
Awesome Microsoft Office plug-in that lets you share documents with anyone you like, work on them simultaneously, and merge them all within your favorite office app (e.g. Excel, Word, PowerPoint). Uses Google Docs as your back end and it’s free!
The same functionality as Google Docs, but also enables you to provide email, calendar & other services for your teammates. Feels a bit more official since people would log in with their business email addresses, but if you don’t want/need that, stick with Google Docs to start.
Free but you need to own a domain (e.g. http://www.NimbusHealth.com).
This isn’t so much a web site, as it is an application that sits on your computer and automatically keeps copies of your business files backed up and synchronized with your associates.
You install it, tell it which directories you want it to watch, and not only will it back up those folders for you online, you can share those folders with other people and whenever you make a change to a file within it, it will automatically be updated on your teammates’ computer. You can still access the files on their website, but you don’t have to re-upload them every time you make a change – it does it automatically. Very cool.
Free for up to 2 gb of storage per-person. I recommend only having it backup the directories with the files you want to share at first, you can extra directories later (because it takes a while to back up all of your My Documents, for example).
An online project management and file sharing/collaboration tool. Very simple to use and includes the ability to schedule and track time as well as share files.
I haven’t used this, but I think it’s a light weight version of Sharepoint. Probably enough to a small team going.
If you need the full functionality of a Sharepoint site, I suggest searching for hosted Sharepoint services online. It shouldn’t take too long to setup and should be fairly inexpensive.
I know that’s quite a few options, but each one has their advantages for any given situation. For reference, we use Google Apps for business purposes, Google Docs for personal, and Syncplicity for both.
[Update - 6/2/2010]
The gracious members of the HIMSS Small & Independent Consultants Special Interest Group (SIC SIG) offered some great suggestions as well:
Joomla or DotNetNuke
Content management systems you and also use as a company web site. If you use either system as your company web site, then creating workspaces for clients or colleagues is straightforward and you have easy access to all the functionality required to run your business.
- Jerome Carter (NTM Informatics)
Feels like what Sharepoint would be if you built it in 2010. Highly integrated and collaborative file sharing, editing, project management and calendar functionality.
- Bob Brown (Mosaica Partners)
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