A US start-up has come up with a socalled business collaboration portal to enable colleagues that are located remotely to work together.
X-Collaboration Software (XCSC) describes the portal as a secure Web based service that provides geographically centralised or dispersed users with flexible access to joint projects, documents and data.
Kevin Lo, XCSC's chairman and chief executive, claimed that the groupware and teamware products of the mid 1990s had not delivered on the promise of collaboration, so the firm was set up to deliver it over the Web using the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and standard software applications.
Teams can use X-Collaboration.com as a Web, intranet or extranet site to gather, analyse, archive and distribute work that was developed using Office 2000. It also enables large teams to manage Web based projects and is aimed at companies that do not wish to establish the necessary infrastructure or incur the costs associated with introducing enterprise groupware.
XCSC has just launched its business collaboration portal with Exodus Communications, an Internet and application hosting service.
Customers log on to an X-Collaboration server via the Web and download a client program. They can then access information such as HTML documents, files from desktop applications such as Excel spreadsheets, and URLs from an "intelligent white board". The information can be edited and resaved on the X-Collaboration servers.
XCSC is also compatible with existing Window applications, Web browsers and email packages, enabling team members to use familiar applications to transparently build documents.
The product is written in Java, runs under Unix and supports most relational databases. It supports the Secure Sockets Layer for Internet security purposes and is compatible with Microsoft Office 2000's version of XML. As a result, Office 2000 applications are able to generate XML documents that can be stored directly in the XML database used by X-Collaboration.com.
Mike Comiskey, senior analyst at IDC, said: "The search for open, yet more intelligent, Internet and intranet collaboration systems continues. X-Collaboration.com is a step in the right direction, being designed to offer small and medium sized organisations a collaboration system with very capable auditing and administrative features."
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