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Work Together Tools

Social Collaboration with Novell Vibe Cloud

Written by Ken Baker

Too often, collaboration tools become the place where documents go to die. Some tools are so complex that users simply give up and resign themselves to the inefficiencies of e-mail. Most tools don’t let you easily or effectively collaborate with your partners or customers. And they lack the means to enable ad-hoc collaboration. Novell Vibe Cloud is different.

Novell Vibe Cloud is all about the living, breathing process of working together. You already have a taste of the dynamic, work together aspects of Novell Vibe Cloud if you happened to participate in the open beta or have taken Novell Vibe Cloud Basic (the free version) for a test drive since it officially came to market earlier this month. At its market debut, Novell added new features to the Basic version over what users experienced at the start of the Novell Vibe Cloud open beta, and introduced Novell Vibe Cloud Enterprise, a version with added security and management controls.

Delivered via the Web as an online software service, it provides a unified interface that lets you see, create, edit, comment on, share, sort and filter all your documents, messages, blog posts, and group workspace posts from one place.

Real-Time Social Collaboration

If you’re not familiar with Novell Vibe Cloud, it’s a place where ideas can be shared and evolve at the speed of conversation. Delivered via the Web as an online software service, it provides a unified interface that lets you see, create, edit, comment on, share, sort and filter all your documents, messages, blog posts, and group workspace posts from one place. (See Figure 1.) It lets you illustrate conversations and decisions with attachments and whiteboard scribbles. In Novell Vibe Cloud you don’t have to wait for the refresh button. Content and comments come to you live, as they happen. It lets you see who's available to work with, create a new space with a few clicks, jump in and get working together.

Novell Vibe Cloud is much more than social messaging. It’s social collaboration. Unlike simple social messaging applications, Novell Vibe Cloud combines the core tools people need to get work done. Social collaboration with Novell Vibe Cloud lets you store and manage shared files, find the information you need, and work together with others on projects, but it eliminates the complexity that you find in traditional collaboration tools. It lets you work together with others the way you want. It makes it easier to stay in the loop. It lets your people collaborate and connect better with customers and partners, while allowing you to ensure that organizational security policies remain in place. It enables your people to work together on projects with others in real time. Novell Vibe Cloud does all this by wrapping real-time co-authoring, social messaging, and file sharing together into one intuitive application that's enterprise secure.

Novell Vibe Cloud also delivers rich document creation, collaborative editing and document sharing that lets you get work done with other users in real-time with co-editable online documents, wikis, meeting notes, and more. It gives you real-time awareness so you can know exactly when your colleagues are available, as well as document presence that lets you see who is currently reading or co-editing a team document. You can form groups with anyone you need to work with—inside and outside your company. You can follow them and see real-time updates on projects, topics, and news, and then add your own comments as you go. You can get instant, collaborative feedback from the people you're connected to, tapping into their insights and ideas so you can make better decisions.

New for Free

If you have already tried Novell Vibe Cloud, you’re likely familiar with its features such as real-time co-editing, real-time wikis, social blogging, file sharing, contextual presence, real-time chat, real-time document commenting, real-time search and tagging, and personal and team profiles. Two key new features added to the Basic version this month include e-mail integration and desktop-to-cloud two-way file synchronization.

The e-mail integration in Novell Vibe Cloud allows you to stay in the loop of what’s going on even if you aren’t a frequent user of Vibe Cloud. From the Notices tab under your personal Settings, you can choose to have copies of your messages sent to your e-mail. It gives you the granularity to choose if you want it to send to your e-mail address copies of all direct messages sent to you, new posts to your feed, replies to your feed, replies to your feed from only those you follow, posts to your group feeds, and more. (See Figure 2.) You can respond to these Vibe Cloud messages from your e-mail as well. You can also post files into Vibe Cloud through e-mail by simply e-mailing them directly to the group as an attachment.

All the groups and feeds in Novell Vibe Cloud have vanity oriented e-mail addresses associated with them. So, if you create a group called planning, the group’s vanity email address will be planning@vibe.novell.com. You can then easily post messages and files to the group by simply sending an e-mail to that address.

With the latest update to Novell Vibe Cloud, file management has been enhanced dramatically as well. A Files tab or folder has been added into groups, which lets you easily drag files from your desktop into a group folder. To help you organize your files, you can give them personal or global tags, and use file folders, which make it easy to find or view the files you want. You can allow others to edit or update your files, or lock them down so only you or a group admin can edit them. Additionally, with its one click PDF viewing, you don’t need the native application loaded on your client to view most files in Vibe Cloud. Also, when you mouse over a file, it will show you a blurb of its content.

Later this month, desktop to cloud two-way file synchronization will also be added to file management in Novell Vibe Cloud. To take advantage of file synchronization, you simply download the synchronization app to your client and choose which groups in Vibe Cloud you want it to synchronize to your desktop. Once configured, when you drag content to a folder—either on your desktop or in Vibe—it will synchronize to the other group folder location in real-time, and vice versa. If you edit a file in one of your synchronization groups or folders, it will automatically synchronize the updated file between your client and the cloud. As a result, the latest versions of your files are available instantly to everyone with the proper permissions to that group.

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