• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry


Aug 19, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* The Reviewmeister checks out iCohere's Workingroup Suite

The Reviewmeister just loves to collaborate with colleagues, so we checked out iCohere’s Workgroup Suite 3.1.

The Reviewmeister just loves to collaborate with colleagues, so we checked out iCohere’s Workgroup Suite 3.1.

While certainly not difficult, the iCohere’s Workgroup Suite install required a bit of preparation. In addition to installing Windows 2000 Server and SQLserver 2000, you need to install MacroMedia’s  ColdFusion MX, Microsoft Outlook 2000 (or newer), and enable Terminal Services and FTP access.

 ICohere’s support staff use FTP to upload the installation files, and then connect to your server using Windows Terminal Services. The installation is then completed for you. The biggest drawback of this configuration is that it requires membership in a domain that has Exchange services available for the sole purpose of sending e-mail. The domain membership is required to launch Outlook without a password challenge.

ICohere shines in the configuration phase, however. After the iCohere staff remotely connect and install the system, they create your workspaces to your specifications as part of a standard installation. As part of a pre-installation survey, you document how many workspaces you need, what functions will be in each room, and other details. When iCohere is finished, you have a complete set of workspaces ready for use. While users can be given different permission levels within a workspace, the administrator controls creating new workspaces.

ICohere’s Workgroup Suite has password protection for the browser-only user. For iCohere users who forget their passwords, a temporary password can be e-mailed to the user.

Two major challenges that team members face are managing time and project-related files. ICohere’s calendar is Web-based and internal to the application.

Keeping track of your files, whether they are documents, diagrams, or slide presentations, can be a headache with e-mail – this issue is handled very well by the collaborative spaces. iCohere has file check-in, checkout, review and approval systems, and other advanced file management features that are highly controllable by the “owner” of the workspace.

A collaborative workspace must have a directory or contact database to help members find or get to know one another. ICohere had the most flexible and feature-rich approach, letting us post team members’ photos or graphics (although we hit a bump when trying to upload a large graphics file into a profile), or even audio files. ICohere also has strong voting/polling features.

Real-time messaging lets team members communicate via text during group meetings or smaller gatherings, whether scheduled or ad hoc. The iCohere “native” system for ad hoc meetings uses pop-up windows that can get hidden behind other open windows, but politely close when no longer needed. Meeting invitations in iCohere can be sent through third-party messaging (e-mail) or the internal workspace-messaging tool. ICohere also can link to an enterprise meeting server or hosted service, which leverages other enterprise resources.

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