Business Week writes:
Welcome to the collaboration woes of the small-business world. Technology was supposed to usher in the virtual office, but for many smaller outfits, the wider world beyond the cubicle doesn’t go much further than e-mails and instant messaging. While it’s better than costly phone calls, e-mail is an unwieldy way to work on projects that require team feedback on documents, real-time collaboration, brainstorming, or other forms of multiple-party communication.
Groove taps the power of each user’s computer, capitalizing on today’s fast, big-memory hard drives. When members of a Groove workspace use the Internet, the software looks for other members, links to the Groove documents on their hard drives, and then syncs them, so everything is updated. It tracks document versions, noting who made changes when, and if some team members aren’t online, it stores new information in a Groove Networks relay server until they log on.
For a budget-friendly, one-time fee of $69 to $180 per user, small companies can download the software, install it, and start creating workspaces for different projects, controlling which employees get access to what. As the needs of a particular project shift, new people can be added or removed. Groove is integrated with standard Windows products, such as Microsoft Outlook, Office, and Sharepoint, as well as Lotus Notes, so businesses can keep using the programs they already have. Davis says using Groove has reduced his need to travel, increased the information flow between himself and his consultants and clients, and allowed him to track projects more easily.