Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and leaving its footprint on almost anything you can imagine. Gone are the days when you don’t require specialized software to collaborate with your peers and top management. Today, business collaboration has emerged as one of the most important process and a vital part of your routine business operations.
What is SharePoint?
The emergence of business collaboration software has added a new dimension to it. SharePoint software is a complete solution built to ensure efficient management of communication and work in business. Microsoft took the lead with its SharePoint software, which was used by more than 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies in 2011. This was a big achievement for the tech giant in itself but unfortunately, that did not last long.
As new player started to flood the market, Microsoft SharePoint market share declined slowly. Businesses started looking for alternatives to SharePoint while new entrants started offering easy to use, low maintenance software for tailor made to suit the needs of business. If you are looking for a robust alternative to SharePoint, then this article is for you. But before we go into the details, it is better to answer the question “Why go for SharePoint alternatives? To find out the answer, read on.
Why Go For SharePoint Alternatives?
There could numerous reasons why you should try out other alternatives of SharePoint. Some of them are given below:
- Very expensive: Probably the most important reason why you should consider switching to a SharePoint alternative is its high cost. Remember that cost of software is not what you have to pay when buying the product but the cost incurred during maintenance, upgrade and provisioning all counts. Additionally, businesses will also have to hire a SharePoint specialist to configure and run the system smoothly. This makes SharePoint a misfit for small or medium size companies.
- Too complicated: SharePoint is a full-fledged business solution with many modules. This might be a positive for large corporations but when it comes to small and medium size businesses, this might prove to be a deal breaker. The sophisticated nature of this software does not go down well because it compromises the user friendliness of this tool.
- Poor Cloud Support and Integration: There is no denying that future belongs to the cloud. Unfortunately, Microsoft SharePoint fails to deliver on that front. Poor cloud support along with non-existent cloud integration is disappointing omissions, especially in today’s cloud centric world.
- Difficult to manage and maintain: The amount of time and IT resources required to maintain this software will put off many businesses. Managing content updates was a pain in the neck while the initial rollout was not that smooth either.
Here are some of the best SharePoint equivalents for effective business collaboration
- Intranet Connections
- Confluence by Atlassian
- IBM Connections
- Box For Business
- Nuxeo Open Source CMS
- Oracle Social Network
- SAP Success Factors
If you are looking for simple, easy to use business communication software, then Intranet Connection can win your fancy. It helps you automate business processes, improve collaboration among employees and keep employees interested throughout the project. The scalability and easy implementation makes this tool one of the best in its class. Other exclusive features include shared calendars, mobile intranet. Employee milestone management and help desk ticketing to name just a few.
You will get all the standard features as well as some unique features that you won’t find in many business collaboration tools. The best example is the e-learning module of this software, which enables the companies to create online training courses for their employees or an employee directory, which makes it stand out from rest of its competitors.
Although, popular for their software development tools, Atlassian has lately made a name for themselves in business collaboration domain as well by producing some really efficient business oriented solutions. Some people might mistakenly consider it as a tool for developers but it has some innovative features for business management and collaboration.
The clearly laid out dedicated pages for each team make monitoring and collaboration of a project a breeze. One thing that is apparent when using this software is a huge emphasis on project management. It is the ideal program for companies using agile methodology to complete projects. Confluence seamlessly integrates with more than 500 add-ons, which is a big bonus for businesses requirement many add-ons.
Huddle proudly market itself as “#1 SharePoint alternative” but does it really deliver? Huddle does a fantastic job when it comes to managing projects and collaborating with team members. It is one of the best business communication and project management tool for government agencies and large enterprises but not an ideal choice for small or even medium size businesses.
The impressive recent customer list will illustrate this point perfectly. US department of defence, NASA and EPSON are some its new customers. It also allows built in integration with major platforms such as Sales-force, Microsoft SharePoint and Centrify. Customizable cloud workspaces, intelligent sharing and task management along with different certification compliance help it become one of the best business collaboration tools available in the market.
IBM connections are a solid enterprise social networking tool. It can be used both as an external networking application and as an internal workflow management and communication platform. This quality makes it stand out from rest of the similar tools. There is also a mobile app available to ensure that you don’t miss a beat. The included technical support is a big plus for businesses that are always on the lookout for technical support.
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There are many traditional features along with few advanced features as well. Employees can communicate with one another through various means such as conversation, discussions, forums, blogs and share presentations, documents, videos and images. Whether you want to share workflows with many employees or with few, IBM connection can do both in a hassle free way. The dashboard customizations and the personalised experience offered by IBM Connections is unparalleled.
Igloo borrows a few elements from Intranet Connections but the pricing and packages it offers differentiate it from Intranet Connections. Small businesses and medium size businesses will love it’s all inclusive per user and per month pricing formula. This makes it an affordable and user friendly SharePoint alternative for small companies.
The lack of in app document editing options is a little disappointing but not a deal breaker. You will find all the regular features such as blogging, forum, wikis, shared calendar, task management options. If you run a small business that has future plans to expanding their intranet, then this is a tool for you.
For those looking for a free SharePoint alternative that packs a punch, Alfresco is a must have business collaboration software. Don’t count out Alfresco just because it is free, you will be pleasantly surprised or even amazed to see so many top class business collaboration features in this handy free software. It is the best free business collaboration by a long shot, especially for small and medium sized businesses who cannot afford to purchase expensive business collaboration software.
The presence of dedicated mobile apps means that you can work from anywhere, anytime, with anyone. This is a big achievement for a free tool but Alfresco does not stop here. Collaboration of various types of documents has never been that easy as it is now with Alfresco. You only have to pay a meager amount if you purchase their comprehensive enterprise document management platform but the business collaboration suite is completely free.
Box is popularly known for its cloud storage service but most people are unaware about its impressive business collaboration tool. With some outstanding features for business such as enterprise level security, customizable access control, project management and mobile synchronisation.
Accessing all the modules is as easy as signing into your box account. Setting up retention policies through the IT console is not a big deal. Document editing feature is missing but it integrates seamlessly with third party applications including Office 365. Other innovative features include password protected links, Custom branding, Access to reporting statistics and much more.
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If you are open source SharePoint alternative, then Nuxeo Open Source CMS is a tool for you. The content management system has all the features that you would expect from any other business collaboration software. It will take a long time for users to get accustomed the interface but it saves your time and helps you complete projects within the deadline.
The lack of social interface can be problematic for many companies but it compensates for it when it comes to controls. Businesses can control many more factors related to their projects as compared to any other SharePoint competitors. The cross platform support is also an added bonus.
Oracle Social Cloud
Oracle social cloud is a unified platform, which is a huge umbrella under which many of Oracle relationship management tools lies in. With the reliability of Oracle and advanced features such as social monitoring, real time dashboard analytics, competitive analysis, measurement of multi channel marketing campaign to name just a few. Add to that the reliable name of Dun and Bradstreet for customer information and business data; you get an all in one solution in Oracle Social Cloud.
Users can take full advantage of its state of the art real time metrics system that helps you to tweak everything according to the customer requirements. Giving charity and coupons are exclusive features only available in Oracle Social Cloud. It focuses more on deliver better user experience to your customers by ensuring that the right team or person is aware of the ground realities.
SAP Success Factors
Famous for its ERP system all around the world, SAP also has some outstanding tools to help business in managing their day to day operations easily. SAP success factor is no exception. It is a easy to use, modular based solution, which makes it easy for business to select and implement the modules they only need. This not only saves them few bucks but they also get the features they only need. There are plenty of customization options available as well.
On the flip side, the technical support is not that efficient when it comes to telling businesses which is the best module they should purchase. Some modules don’t gel with other modules that well. SAP Success Factors users will gain access to update and global data. SAP is evolving rapidly and improving its product line with the passage of time. What this means that we will see a more refined product in years to come from SAP.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your business needs and your budget when selecting the right business collaboration tool for your enterprise. If you want a free tool for business collaboration purpose without compromising on the feature, then there is no other tool better than Alfresco. Businesses who are searching for an open source alternative to Microsoft SharePoint should try Nuxeo Open Source CMS.
Small businesses looking to extend their intranet structures should give Intranet Connections a try.Similarly, Oracle Social Cloud, SAP Success Factors and IBM Connections are more suited for large enterprises. Box for business and Google for Work adds a cloud touch to business collaborations. Huddle is also a strong competitor and offers a perfect blend of usability and features that businesses are looking for.
When selecting a business communication tool, it is important that you look at your requirements and budget and compare the offerings of different solution providers before making the final decision. By doing this, businesses can select a business collaboration solution that is right for them. I hope that this article will help you in selecting the perfect solution for your company and ensure effective functioning and business collaboration in your business.