Collaboration software

When the company I work for was owned by a private equity company, we would often have collaborative events with other companies within the portfolio in order to collaborate and share ideas. When we began sharing files and other tools, we were limited by the options of our non-integrated tools (like individual company exchange email servers and independent intranet sites). In looking for a better alternative, we came across and successfully used two tools: the previously reviewed Doodle and another enterprise tool called Huddle.

Huddle is a great alternative to SharePoint, as we were not on the same network, intranet, or VPN. Being cloud-based, it was also easy to access from home, remote, or office locations. We used Huddle in a similar manner to SharePoint (if you are familiar with that enterprise Microsoft product); it features document libraries, shared calendars, private wiki pages, etc. SharePoint often does/allows this in a single enterprise environment (like I have at the day job); however, when it is behind a firewall, you can only get to it if you have permissions within that network. Huddle allowed us to break free from that and “go cloud.”

The particular use we had for it is that we were all under a large private equity umbrella, yet we all were part of distinct organizations (i.e. we have our own corporate intranet sites) and we didn’t want to develop, pay for, administer, etc. a new site with permissions for each of us. Instead, we used Huddle to help provide a cloud alternative to SharePoint, with internet-based sign-on, permissions, etc. It solved the issue of not being able to share documents (instead of email or S/FTP), and collaborate on schedules, etc.

While we just scratched the surface before my company was sold, it was a great, scalable, and cloud-based alternative to SharePoint.

-- Ben Vaterlaus 02/6/13

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