Formal Research Compared to Business Proposals by bvu64416

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									Virtual Team Collaboration Tool Evaluation
                There’s No I in Team


                       Prepared for,
                       Debra Geist,
                 Professor for BISM 2100

                      Prepared by
                  There‟s No I In Team

                              There’s No I in Team

There’s No I in Team

There‟s No I in Team Operating Agreement

Project Name: Team Collaboration
Project Manager Name: Jennifer Rothman (404) 723 6199

                              There’s No I in Team

Website Coordinator: Jennifer Doi    (770) 653 1646
Formal Report Coordinator: Ken Kamau (678) 913 9434
Research Coordinator: Chloe Longwell      (678) 608 6786
Presentation Coordinator: Hugo Bautista    (770) 757 0008
Date: October 27, 2008

                                  There’s No I in Team

Team Operating Agreement

Mission Statement
Our mission is to be an effective virtual team.

Our goal is to learn how to work well in a team using virtual collaboration tools effectively.

We will do research, have meetings, manage our time through proper planning, and use virtual
collaboration tools effectively.

Purpose of the Team Operating Agreement
    This Team Operating Agreement serves as a guideline to help ensure the success of There Is
No I In Team. As we work collaboratively on this project, this agreement is subject to change if
the entire team believes is necessary, and will thus be ratified.

Team Communications
      Team members will communicate through WebCT, phone, and email.
      Virtual and face-to-face meetings will be called as needed in order to collaborate on
      Meeting agendas will be determined prior to the meeting by the pertaining
        coordinator, or project manager. Agendas will then be distributed with ample time to
        members to prepare.
      Keep everyone informed.

Decision Making
           If a conflict arises, bring it to the attention of the project manager, who will then
             address at team meetings.
           Decisions will be made by taking a vote, where majority (3/5) wins.
              To move forward quickly, members will vote by raising of the hand
                      Vote yes: agree with the solution
                      Vote no: do not agree with solution, or needs revision
              Team members are not required to vote.
              Vote based on what is best for the team and the project at hand.
              If you are unable to move forward with the decision, contact the project manager
               for review of the issue.

                                 There’s No I in Team

       Virtual and face-to-face meetings will be called as needed in order to collaborate on
       Meeting agendas will be determined prior to the meeting by the pertaining
         coordinator, or project manager. Agendas will then be distributed with ample time to
         members to prepare.
       Length of meetings will be determined once agenda is set to insure enough time.
       Attendance to meetings is required unless the team has excused a member due to
         prior circumstances.
       If unable to attend the meeting, he or she must submit their materials to the project
         manager to be brought to meetings.
       The project manager will team members on topic and moving forward.
       Have needed information (determined by meeting agenda) ready and up-to date for
       Any disputes will be discussed and voted on during team meetings.
       Project manager will keep a record/ log documenting meetings and materials
       Scheduled meetings:
                     11/10        Review progress        7:00 Buruss Building
                     11/20        Review progress        7:00 Buruss Building

Preparation, Performance, and Process
       Each team member must complete their required work by the anticipated due date.
       Documents will be posted for review in the appropriate section of the discussion
          boards on WebCT.
       In order to regulate versions, all final drafts must be submitted using Office 2007.
       After being delinquent with completing and submitting work on time, and depending
          on circumstances, that team member may be subject to team review.
       Peer review will be conducted as such:
              o Rough drafts will be reviewed in a parallel structure
              o Final drafts will be reviewed sequentially

Personal Courtesies
       Each member is responsible for the coordination of specific sub unit of the project.
       Be courteous of one another and their ideas.
       Do not interrupt a member when an idea is being proposed or discussed.
       Each member must contribute to the success of the team.

                                 There’s No I in Team

Schedule of Deliverables

   Deliverables             Submit to              Team Due Date        Final Due Date

  Individual Draft    Individual members                11/4              11/5 10pm

   Formal Report            Ken Kamau                   11/20             11/24 10pm

 Video Presentation        Hugo Bautista                11/21             11/25 10 pm

 HTML Web page              Jenny Doi                   11/27             12/1     10pm

Individual assignments

Hugo Bautista                Presentation Coordinator       Microsoft SharePoint

Jenny Doi                    Website Coordinator            Google Team

Ken Kamau                    Formal Report Coordinator      Microsoft Groove

Chloe Longwell                      Research Coordinator           IBM Lotus Sametime

Jennifer Rothman             Project Manager                Google Docs & Spreadsheets

                                   There’s No I in Team

Reviewed and approved by:

________________________________________________       ____________________
Project Manager                                  Date:
________________________________________________                ____________________
Project Team Member Name                                Date:
________________________________________________                ____________________
Project Team Member Name                                Date:
________________________________________________                ____________________
Project Team Member Name                                Date:
________________________________________________                ____________________
Project Team Member Name                                Date:

The preliminary outline for this study is as follows:

   I. Introduction
   II. Microsoft Groove (Ken Kamau)
          A. Is Microsoft Groove effective for communication?
             1. Synchronously
                 a. Strengths
                 b. Weaknesses
             2. Asynchronously
                 a. Strengths
                 b. Weaknesses
          B. Is Microsoft Groove effective for content management?
             1. Strengths
             2. Weaknesses
          C. Is Microsoft Groove effective for work flow control?
             1. Strengths

                             There’s No I in Team

          2. Weaknesses
       D. What does it cost?
       E. What is involved in implementing this tool?
       F. Is there ongoing support and maintenance?

III. Microsoft Sharepoint (Hugo Bautista)
        A. Is Microsoft Sharepoint effective for communication?
           3. Synchronously
                c. Strengths
                d. Weaknesses
           4. Asynchronously
                c. Strengths
                d. Weaknesses
        B. Is Microsoft Sharepoint effective for content management?
           3. Strengths
           4. Weaknesses
        C. Is Microsoft Sharepoint effective for work flow control?
           3. Strengths
           4. Weaknesses
        D. What does it cost?
        E. What is involved in implementing this tool?
        F. Is there ongoing support and maintenance?

IV. Google Docs and Spreadsheets (Jennifer Rothman)
       A. Are Google Docs and Spreadsheets effective for communication?
          1. Synchronously
              e. Strengths
              f. Weaknesses
          2. Asynchronously
              e. Strengths
              f. Weaknesses
       B. Are Google Docs and Spreadsheets effective for content management?
          1. Strengths
          2. Weaknesses
       C. Are Google Docs and Spreadsheets effective for work flow control?
           1. Strengths
           2. Weaknesses
       D. What does it cost?
       E. What is involved in implementing this tool?

                           There’s No I in Team

       F. Is there ongoing support and maintenance?
V. Google Team (Jenny Doi)
       A. Is Google Team effective for communication?
          1. Synchronously
               g. Strengths
               h. Weaknesses
          2. Asynchronously
               g. Strengths
               h. Weaknesses
       B. Is Google Team effective for content management?
          1. Strengths
          2. Weaknesses
       C. Is Google Team effective for work flow control?
          1. Strengths
          2. Weaknesses
       D. What does it cost?
       E. What is involved in implementing this tool?
       F. Is there ongoing support and maintenance?
VI. IBM Lotus Sametime (Chloe' Longwell)
       A. Is IBM Lotus Sametime effective for communication?
          1. Synchronously
               a. Strengths
               b. Weaknesses
          2. Asynchronously
               a. Strengths
               b. Weaknesses
       B. Is IBM Lotus Sametime effective for content management?
          1. Strengths
          2. Weaknesses
       C. Is IBM Lotus Sametime effective for work flow control?
          1. Strengths
          2. Weaknesses
       D. What does it cost?
       E. What is involved in implementing this tool?
       F. Is there ongoing support and maintenance?
VII. Final Recommendations

                                  There’s No I in Team

                                      Letter of Authorization

BISM 2100 Students

Section 2, fall 2008

Coles College of Business

Kennesaw State University

Dear Students,

The purpose of this assignment is to expose students to emerging technologies and to create an
opportunity for students to utilize their professional written business communication skills. This
formal report, coordinated with a digital presentation and an informative website, will combine
to provide a bundled resource for this semester‟s team project.

Your team is being asked to research and evaluate tools that facilitate collaboration for virtual
teams. The ultimate purpose of this research is to make a recommendation, or recommendations,
on the “tool of choice” for use by a small-medium size business. These tools may exist as
programs or websites. The tools selected should be evaluated for their effectiveness in
supporting the three primary factors of collaboration: communication, content management and
workflow control. Your team‟s formal report is to include evaluation of the following three
specific products/services:

                Google Docs & Spreadsheets
                Microsoft Groove
                Microsoft Sharepoint

Your team should also select and research one, or two, other alternative for consideration*.

                                  There’s No I in Team

Each product should be evaluated for its strengths and weaknesses in supporting virtual team
communication, content management and workflow control. In addition, factors such as initial
cost (just general price range, not exact dollars and cents), implementation (something your mom
could do, or would it require an entire technical team of IT specialists), support and maintenance
should be addressed.

Your report should include, but is not limited to, the following points of information.

These topics would be incorporated as Level One Headings:

      Introduction to virtual teams and collaboration-
           1. What are virtual teams?
           2. A discussion of collaboration:
               communication, content management & workflow control

      Evaluation of collaboration tools
          1. The report should contain a level 2 heading for each product.
                  1. Each product/tool should be evaluated as to its abilities (or inabilities) &
                      effectiveness regarding the primary factors involved in collaboration.
                       (Each factor might be addressed in a separate paragraph.)

                 2. Additional considerations such as initial cost, implementation, support and
                    maintenance should be addressed for each product.
      Recommendation – Detailed and Thorough
          1. Which do you recommend for small-to-medium businesses and why?
          2. Include the steps necessary to implement this technology in the business.
             (Remember, your audience should be left with a clear picture of what should be
             done next to follow through on your recommendation.)

        This is a Formal Analytical report (review course textbook on “Planning Reports and
Proposals”) and will conclude with a detailed recommendation about which technology is better
used in the small-to-medium business environment.

        Use both commercial and academic resources (Minimum of 10 references – 15 needed
for full credit – at least 5 academic). The report should include at least one visual aide (chart,
graph, table, or other image) to illustrate facts presented in the report.

                                 There’s No I in Team

        This report will be submitted to (plagiarism detection software). Ensure
that you follow APA guidelines, cite all resources appropriately, and include all references.

               KIM: changing 2-3 words does not constitute paraphrasing.

Written Report:

Your team‟s report must be submitted through WebCT VISTA. Employ all facets of effective
business writing and refer back to your text:

      Completing Business Reports and Proposals - formal report structure
      Writing Business Reports and Proposals - headings required and the visuals needed
      Appendix B - APA style Reference List
          o This report will use APA for citations and references.

Written Report Structure:

Follow the sample report in the chapter on completing Business Reports.

The paper should be single-spaced, using Level 1 and 2 headings.

References should be sorted into two lists, one for academic references only, the second for
all others. Level 2 headings should be used to separate the lists.

Digital Presentation:

Your team will develop a digital presentation covering the analytical outcome (conclusions
and/or recommendations) of the formal paper. Basic information will be provided covering the
main points (level 1 headings) with some supplemental material from the secondary points (level
2 headings). Additional information regarding the presentation will be provided under separate

                                  There’s No I in Team

      Each team member will be responsible for evaluating a separate product. If your team
       consists of five members, two additional tools/products must be selected. If you team
       consists of only four members, one additional tool/product must be selected.

Team Website:

Your team will also construct a basic website containing the key elements of your findings –
further details for this deliverable will be addressed under separate document.

Team Project Deliverables:

Each individual component of the semester project (paper, digital presentation and website) will
be worth a total of 100 points. Comprehensive research and evaluation of the topic (i.e.
planning) will greatly enhance the final outcome of all three components.

Formal Report Grading Criteria:

The formal report is worth a possible 100 points for each student.

The total of 100 points is comprised of three separate grades:

               20 points – grade for individual research

               30 points – grade for specific sections submitted by individual team members

               50 points – grade for entire paper as submitted by the team

Every team member will receive identical grades for the team portion.

Each individual will receive a separate grade based on their individual work. The portion of the
paper you are responsible for should be indicated in the team operating agreement, or the
working plan or working outline.

                                  There’s No I in Team

Team grade will be based on the following rubric:

Quality points: A comprehensive formal report that encompasses the 7 C‟s of business        10
writing. Grammar, spelling, readability, structure, adherence to specified format, strong
words, sentences and transitions between sentences, paragraphs and topics. Approach
is clear (direct/indirect).

Introduction covers concepts of virtual teams and collaboration, includes academic          5
citations and references.

Thorough research of sources – on average every paragraph has a source listed.              5
Internal citations are included and properly formatted using APA guidelines.
Referenced works are either paraphrased, or properly quoted, and relevant.

Reference list is complete as specified in Letter of Authorization and adheres to APA
guidelines. (information, formatting, structure)

Paper submitted to (-3 points if not submitted)

Detailed analysis covering requirements stated above – these are content points.            10

Visual aid included – relevant, properly formatted, easily interpreted for content          5

Final recommendation(s) well developed – this is the crux of the analytical report. It      15
should be detailed enough to know exactly what response you want from your reader
and how you want the reader to follow through on that objective.


Individual Grade will be based on the following rubric:
Individual portion well written using proper business prose that employs the 7 C‟s of       10
business writing – these are quality points. Grammar, spelling, readability, structure,
and adherence to required formats are all factors.

Thorough research of sources – on average every paragraph has a source listed.              7
Referenced works are paraphrased or properly quoted. Citations and references
formatted according to APA guidelines. Reference list is complete – includes all works
cited. (Individual portions must include minimum of 3.)

Paper submitted to (3 pt automatic deduction)                                  3

                                  There’s No I in Team

Individual portion fully covers main/sub topics as designated and provides detailed      10
analysis of topic area – these are content points.


A supplemental document for this project will be created in the form of a Team Operating
Agreement. Recommended elements for this agreement will be presented in class lectures,
covered in course resource documents, and discussed in class. The final elements contained in
this agreement will be left to the individual team discretion.


Debra B Geist, Support Faculty
Accounting Department, Coles College of Business
Kennesaw State University

                1000 CHASTAIN ROAD • KENNESAW, GEORGIA • 30144
                      PHONE: 770-423-6584 • FAX: 770-423-6601
                                 There’s No I in Team

                                  LETTER OF TRANSMITAL

Date:         November 18, 2008
To:           Debra Geist, Kennesaw State University Professor
From:         There‟s No I in Team
Subject:      Selection of Most Suited Collaboration tool

Here is the report requested on virtual team collaboration tools. Jennifer Rothman (team leader)
reports on Google Docs, and Jennifer Fisher (we coordinator) reports on Google Team. Chloe‟
Longwell (research coordinator) reports on Lotus Sametime Unyte, and Ken Kamau (writing
coordinator) reports on Microsoft Groove. Hugo Bautista reports on SharePoints.

After thoroughly researching a few available tools, we have decided on one solid
recommendation. Although all the tools have their positive, we have found that Google Apps
Team Edition (GATE) would be most suitable for the business. GATE would solve a variety of
problems including employees not able to access documents from home and not receiving
notification of updates to current documents among others. To take full advantage of the
features GATE provides all employees must be registered as soon as possible.

GATE cannot substitute face to face communication but as we learned through our research it
allows for ample communication between individuals that cannot find time to meet due to their
hectic schedules.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work for you.

                                                  There’s No I in Team

 TEAM OPERATING AGREEMENT: ................................................................................................... 16
 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................................................................................................................... 19
 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................. 20
 MICROSOFT SHAREPOINT 2007 ....................................................................................................... 21
 MICROSOFT GROOVE ........................................................................................................................ 22
 LOTUS SAMETIME UNYTE ............................................................................................................... 22
 GOOGLE DOCS .................................................................................................................................... 23
 GOOGLE APPS TEAM EDITION ........................................................................................................ 24
 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ................................................................................. 25
 ACADEMIC REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 27
 REFERENCES ....................................................................................................................................... 28

                                                  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

FIGURES                                                                                                                                   PAGE

1. Compared Cost of Tools in $ Amounts……………………………………………………………………………26

                                  There’s No I in Team

                                   EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of the report is to be knowledgeable on virtual team collaboration and recommend
the most suited collaboration tool for small businesses.

Over the past several weeks, There Is No I in Team, TNIIT, has researched numerous virtual
collaboration tools. Among these are Microsoft Groove, Microsoft SharePoint, Google Docs,
Google Team, and IBM Lotus Sametime. The criteria used to evaluate these tools were
communication, content management and workflow control. After careful analysis, TNIIT is
confident in its recommendation of Google Teams.

 Google Team is effective in both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous
communication is achieved through the use of Google Talk. Google Talk allows team members
to communicate between personal computers via voice calls and instant messaging. Today‟s
business environment calls for different types of asynchronous communication; Google Team
does this in a variety of ways. Asynchronous communication can be achieved with Gmail,
Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Videos, and Google Sites.
                                       Content Management

Google Team gives the author the ability to publish documents as either public or private. Public
documents can be viewed by everyone while private documents can only be seen by invited team
members. Invitations are sent out via email, where invitees are prompted to register using their
email and passwords. The author also has option to invite team members as either viewers or
collaborators. Viewers are permitted to simple view the document while collaborators have the
ability to make revisions.

Google Team offers both parallel and sequential workflow. Parallel is easily achieved when the
author publishes a document using “Share a Doc”. At that point all collaborators are able to
make revisions at the same time. In order to make workflow sequential, collaborators need to set
up a schedule of order and time.


Google Team is an effective virtual collaboration tool. It allows for both synchronous and
asynchronous communication. It secures documents online and permits only team member‟s
access. Workflow can be handled both parallel and sequentially at the discretion of the team.
Google Team is the most effective and cost efficient tools available for small business‟ virtual
team collaboration.

                                   There’s No I in Team


For twenty years, There‟s No “I” In Team (TNIT) has been a respected company used for
evaluating collaboration tools for small businesses. Virtual teams are defined as a group of
members who are located in different physical locations (Peters, 2007). With the introduction of
the Internet, virtual teams, physically separated members, are replacing conventional teams
allowing businesses to tackle more complex and dynamic assignments. Small businesses come
across hundreds of collaboration tools for virtual teams, and TINT sorts through all the options
and custom designs a plan to fulfill the needs of each business. TINT spends more than 7
million dollars researching a variety of collaboration tools for small businesses to provide the
most efficient plan for virtual team collaboration.

TNIT understands that the collaboration needs, of every virtual team, begin with the teams‟
ability to communicate effectively. To collaborate, team members must participate in a process
with a clearly defined purpose that stems from a need to figure out a problem, make, or
determine something. Small businesses need tools that facilitate collaboration through both
synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication is direct; all
members of the virtual team are in attendance at the same time (Asychronous/Synchronous,
n.d.). Examples of synchronous communication are, but not limited to, telephone calls, instant
messaging, chat room meetings, virtual or traditional face-to-face meetings. In asynchronous
communication, team members do not need to be in attendance and available at the same time.
Examples of asynchronous communication are cell phone text messages, E-mail and discussion

Another aspect of effective collaboration is content management. Content management is the
process of “collecting, organizing, categorizing, and structuring” any kind of information in a
way that it can be “saved, retrieved, published, updated, and repurposed or reused” to help the
team fulfill it‟s purpose (Yu, 2005, p. 2). An example of content management is document
management which allows the team version control. Other examples of content management are
knowledge management, records management, electronic content management, financial content
management and web content management.

Work flow control can be broken into two parts, sequential or parallel (Shimosaka, 2007).
Sequential workflow control refers to the virtual team members passing along work in a specific
order. Some collaboration tools may show team members where and with who the work is and
notifies the group when a certain section is complete. Parallel work flow refers to all team
members working on one project at the same time. Different collaboration tools offer certain
ways to manage this work flow. Other collaboration tools allow all team members to view the
same document. By having a single document stored it eliminates sequential workflow.
Revisions to the document are tracked and an original can be retrieved.

TNIT analyzes various collaboration tools to find the best suited one for small virtual teams to
facilitate collaboration. These Internet based collaboration tools are accessed on their ability to
facilitate effective collaboration. TNIT examines communication, content management, work

                                 There’s No I in Team

flow control, and the associated costs in implementing and upkeep of the tools. TNIT evaluated
Google Docs, Google Teams, Sharepoint, Microsoft Groove, and IBM Sametime. TNIT‟s
recommendation is Google Team.

                             MICROSOFT SHAREPOINT 2007

Microsoft SharePoint 2007 is a collaboration server that allows for small businesses to large
enterprises to effectively manage content as well as processes throughout the organization. In
2001, Microsoft introduced SharePoint as Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server. It was later
offered as a free, though stripped down, version with Windows Server 2003, which soon began
appearing in many corporate networks (Fontana, 2008). Features of Microsoft SharePoint 2007
include the broad distribution of documents, web pages, and business data to employees as well
as creating a centralized location to store and retrieve these business documents (Microsoft
SharePoint, n.d.). The main goal of Microsoft SharePoint is to share which refers to connecting
people throughout business and allowance for sharing important documents and processes
(Dunwoodie, 2006). This allows for employees to communicate and share important information
through one secure location.

SharePoint‟s strength is in asynchronous communication, adding little if any synchronous
communication tools. Many of SharePoint‟s aspects allow for new users to access tools without
much hassle. The fact that SharePoint syncs with Microsoft Office is a great feature. Some pros
associated with SharePoint 2007 are that it allows for easy searching of information, and direct
integration to Microsoft Office XP through 2007 which allows displaying and working with
Excel spreadsheets. Microsoft SharePoint also allows for effective and simple content
contribution, access to all content through RSS feeds (Ward, 2008), and offline access through
Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to all documents in SharePoint.

Content Management is an important aspect of any collaboration tool. SharePoint lacks good
content management as it considerably lacks records management. Past versions of files are lost
if a backup copy is not made. Unlike content management, workflow is strength of SharePoint.
SharePoint allows users to actively view documents and allow for dynamic changes.
All the content is also accessible through RSS feeds, further improving workflow by allowing
employees to receive information automatically through these feeds.
Despite its many advantages, SharePoint is not without its disadvantages which include a hefty
price tag. SharePoint‟s selling price ranges from around $4000.00 for the Microsoft SharePoint
Server 2007 to $58,000.00 for Microsoft SharePoint server 2007 for Enterprise Search
(Microsoft SharePoint, n.d.). This price tag might make SharePoint viable to only medium size
to large scale businesses as smaller businesses might not want to make the investment. Also
among the negatives for SharePoint 2007 include “„the fact that it does not scale well given the
way it stores data in SQL Server‟ ” (Fontana, 2008, p. 1). Also the MySites created in SharePoint
contain built in social networking, which might be viewed as a negative aspect (Ward, 2008).

                                  There’s No I in Team

Overall Microsoft SharePoint 2007 provides many tools for organizations to connect employees
with one another and a secure centralized location for document and information retrieval.
Depending on the version, the price might be steep which is a drawback considering other tools
available might be cheaper. SharePoint should be considered by medium sized business since
smaller business might not have such a need and SharePoint does not scale well for larger

                                    MICROSOFT GROOVE

Groove provides an online environment for team collaboration that allows members to share
information across organizational boundaries, regardless of the network they are connected to
(Hancock, 2007). Members do not even need to share the same network to have successful
communication, and this makes Groove an effective collaboration tool. You can create two types
of workspaces when using Microsoft Groove: One is for team projects to share, files, chat, and
have discussions (You Tube Microsoft, n.d.) This is a great way for the team to have
synchronous communication amongst each other. The other type of work space is for file
sharing, which is mainly used to synchronize “my documents”. For asynchronous
communication team members have the ability to record voice messages, invite members who
have Groove into the workspace through E-mail, and also send each other messages by simply
right clicking the name of a member in the workspace.

 Microsoft Groove is very effective in terms of content management because it has a feature
called one note which takes any changes made by a member to a document and automatically
updates it so the other members in the work space will know what changes are being made to
documents at all times. This allows for both sequential and parallel workflow because teams are
always in sync with what is going even after changes are made to a document by a member
within the work space. A team member does not have to wait for a document to be passed down
to them after another member has completed their part. Even when a member is offline they can
still make changes to a document in the workspace and it will be automatically updated when
they sign on. You can take files from anywhere and simply just “drag and drop” them into your
workspace. has Microsoft Groove listed at a price of two hundred and thirty dollars, but it
offers the software for one hundred and ninety nine dollars. This is a good investment for small
businesses that will be using the software on a regular basis. Microsoft Groove provides a great
tool for team collaborations. This is just the beginning of better things to come in the future of
team collaboration, and those who will need it constantly should begin familiarizing themselves
with applications such as this one.

                                 LOTUS SAMETIME UNYTE

         Lotus Sametime Unyte (LSU) allows virtual teams to communicate in real-time, and it
provides minimal asynchronous communication tools (IBM Lotus Sametime Unyte Web, n.d.).
First, the host, usually the business owner, purchases a membership on

                                  There’s No I in Team

Then, virtual team members join real-time meetings and use many synchronous collaboration
tools. Team members can conduct virtual meetings while using an audio and video conferencing
feature; they also have the ability to instant message questions or use a tool called raise your
hand to make comments without interupting the speaker (G. Madio, personal
communication/webinar, November 5, 2008). Team members transfer files through instant
messages, then those files may be download to the other members‟ computers. Presenters also
have the capability to publish static documents for everone to see. The presenter may share
their desktop or files with other members of the team. LSU allows team memebers to view
PowerPoint animations or surf the Internet together in real time anywhere in the world. The
presenter can also gain remote Control access to one other team member‟s computer,or the team
can also switch presenter modes. This allows other members to take control of the meeting and
use the features of remote control. Once in remote control mode, both members then have
mouse control, a feature which is great for editing and collaboration. An additional feature
allows presenters to conduct polls, and this feature allows synchronous communication with out
stopping the meeting.

For members who are unable to attend the meeting, the presenter can record the meeting‟s
visuals and audio. Then he or she can email an exact copy of the entire meeting to the member
who is unable to attend. Because these two tools are the only asyncronous communication
features LSU offers, it is not one of the strongest providers of collaborative tools.
LSU does not offer any features for content management. It does, however, allow for work flow
control by recorded recording and emailing summaries of meetings. These summaries may
include notes from the meeting, similar to the notes students take during collaboration meetings.
Summaries also include all poll results which record the team member‟s opinions.
For a business that has fewer than 15 team members, IBM charges forty-eight dollars a month
for unlimited usage (IBM Lotus Sametime Unyte Web, n.d.). This is a great collaboration tool
for synchronous communication, but it would require the use of additional applications for the
virtual team to funtion well.

                                        GOOGLE DOCS

Google offers several applications such as Google Docs. A great addition to any online work
environment, Google Docs takes the complication out of the virtual collaboration. Instead of
attaching a document to an email, Google Docs allows an email address to be attached to a
document (You Tube-Google Docs, n.d.). This eliminates multiple copies of a document and
allows it to be viewed at a single secure location. Team members have the ability to upload all
basic Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft
PowerPoint (Google Docs Tour, n.d.). Once the document or spreadsheet has been uploaded, the
team may view this document online. Team members easily share documents through invitations
via email.

Google Docs allows teams to communicate both synchronously and asynchronously. One of
Google Doc‟s features is an online chat window. This allows team members to collaborate
synchronously online without the need of phones and texts. Multiple collaborators can make

                                  There’s No I in Team

revisions and chat in real time (You Tube-Google Docs, n.d.). Being connected makes team
work a smooth process. Team members can also make revisions asynchronously. Team members
with different schedules can make revisions on their own time. Because there is only one
document and all revisions are tracked, there is no confusion. Google Docs will automatically
alert other team members that changes were made via email. With today‟s technology, the
Internet can be accessed from virtually anywhere. However, if team members do not have the
necessary medium it becomes important to check in regularly to stay on top of revisions and

Google Docs is a great source of content management. It allows teams to organize and retrieve
information in an online collaborative environment (Google Docs Tour, n.d.). A main struggle of
team work is getting each member‟s ideas in the same place at the same time. Google Docs
eliminates this problem by uploading a document or spreadsheet into Google Docs; each team
member can access documents online and make revisions in an organized fashion. The use of
folders when saving documents helps keep everything structured. Bullet points, sorting by
columns and fonts offer additional organization. There are a few weaknesses to the
organizational structure of Google Docs. When changing the title of a Google Doc, first the
document must be selected, opened, renamed from a dropdown menu, and then finally the new
title can be entered. These extra steps can be quite timely. When saving documents, there is not a
way of organizing by folder. For a team that has hundreds of documents, this can be

When using Google Docs, security and workflow are no longer hurdles to overcome. Only
members, who are invited via email, can access documents and spreadsheets uploaded to Google
Docs (Google Docs Tour, n.d.). Once members have received an invitation, they need to register
and sign in to Google Docs. Registration consists of an email and password; however when a
team shares an email domain a group is created that can only be accessed by Google Apps. Now
the team has to create a Google Apps account as well. Team members can get frustrated because
some documents are stored in Google Docs while others are in Google Apps. This can be
avoided by using personal emails rather than institutional ones (Biddix, 2008). Google Docs
allows team members to make revisions to documents and spreadsheets all in one place (You
Tube-Google Docs, n.d.). This means that revisions can be done both parallel and sequential
depending on the team. All revisions are tracked in an online window noting both the author and
time of the revision. Original copies are stored for easy reference with Google Docs‟ auto-save
feature (Google Docs Tour, n.d.).

One of the best things about Google Docs is its price and accessibly. Google Docs offers small
businesses a free online application. In order to access it, one simply needs to go Google Docs
and register (You Tube-Google Docs, n.d.). Registration consists of an email address and
password, simple!

                              GOOGLE APPS TEAM EDITION

Google Apps Team Edition (GATE) offers an array of applications which promote effective
team collaboration. For synchronous communication, GATE allows people to instant message

                                 There’s No I in Team

team members who are online or make pc to pc voice calls (You Tube-Google Apps, n.d.).
Asynchronous communication can be achieved using many Google Apps, such as Google‟s
professional email account, Gmail (Google Apps, n.d.). Personal and group meetings can be
scheduled and tracked using Google Calendar. Messages and comments may also be posted
regarding a specific meeting (Google Calendar, n.d.). Google Docs and Videos offer the space to
upload documents for either private or public viewing. Information can also be shared by
creating a secure website using Google Sites which displays documents, files, and
announcements (You Tube-Google Sites, n.d.).

Google Docs is compatible with most traditional file formats, except for Microsoft 2007 (Using
Word, 2007). This may cause some document formatting to be outdated. Content management is
determined when a document is posted using Share a Doc. At this point, the author can invite
team members to either view the document or collaborate on the document. Work flow control
will automatically be parallel; however, sequential work flow is obtainable when a team decides
it is necessary (Google Apps, n.d.).

GATE itself is free; however, it does require the company to own a domain name for team
members to sign up under. If the company has not already purchased rights to a domain name,
one is available for ten dollars. In order to implement GATE into a work environment,
employees must sign up using their email address. Google Apps then recognizes the connection
between the similar addresses (You Tube-Google Apps, n.d.) It is low maintenance, with the
option of automatic upgrades, in addition to, technical support from Google Apps Help Center
and Discussion Boards (Google Apps, n.d.).


TNIT recommends Google Apps Team Edition, GATE, and, depending on budgets, Lotus
Sametime Unyte. TNIT understands problems arise in businesses because of employees‟ hectic
schedules, thus bringing about the need for the excellent asynchronous communication offered in
GATE. Compared to other tools previously mentioned, GATE would be most successful for
small businesses to achieve asynchronous collaboration between virtual team members. With
minimal costs for implementation, GATE would be ideal for small companies where keeping
costs low is important. By offering an arrangement of applications, GATE promotes effective
team collaboration both synchronously and asynchronously. Team members can communicate
synchronously by making phone calls from one PC to another using or through instant messages.
GATE offers the ability for public or private documents to be uploaded, reviewed, and renamed
for content management. GATE aides in workflow control by allowing teams to schedule
meetings and track deadlines on virtual calendar. GATE is the most effective and cost efficient
tool available for small business‟ virtual team collaboration.

                                  There’s No I in Team

Figure 1
Compared Cost of Tools in $ amounts

TNIT ensures effective virtual team collaboration by taking the following important steps:
         1. Sign-up for Google Apps Team Edition Webinar.
         2. Use the step-by-step set-up guide.
         3. Train using online training modules.
         4. Direct any additional questions to customer service by clicking on the control

Because these tools take time and effort to implement into existing virtual teams, team leaders
should be the first to train, so they can offer help and advice to their team. Implementing these
two collaboration tools will facilitate superior collaboration in virtual teams.

                                There’s No I in Team

                                ACADEMIC REFERENCES

Asynchronous/Synchronous Communication. (n.d.). DefineThat. Retrieved November 2008,
      2008, from

Peters, L. M., Manz, C. C., & Author, C. C. (2007). Identifying antecedents of virtual team
        collaboration. Team Performance Management, 15(3/4), Retrieved November 10, 2008,
        from EBSCO host database.

Shimosaka, H., Hiroyasu T. & Miki M. (2007). Distributed Workflow Management System
      based on Publish-Subscribe Notification for Web Services. New Generation Computing,
      25(4). Retrieved November 10, 2008, from EBSCO host database.

Yu, H. (2005). Content and Workflow Management for Library Web Sites: Case
       Studies. Retrieved from

                                 There’s No I in Team


Biddix, P. (2008, September 15). Pros/Cons Google Docs…Apps? Message posted to

Dunwoodie, B. (2006). SharePoint 2007 Review - Six Pillars of MOSS. CMS Wire. Retrieved
     November 1, 2008, from

Fontana, J. (2008). Microsoft SharePoint taking business by storm. InfoWorld. Retrieved
       November 1, 2008, from

Google Apps for business-collaboration tools (n.d.). Welcome to Google Apps. Retrieved
      November 4, 2008, from
      Google Calendar (n.d.). Google Calender Tour. Retrieved November 3, 2008, from

Google Docs Tour (n.d.). Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online. Retrieved
      October 31,2008, from

Hancock, J. (2007). Collaborate: Help Teams Work Together With Web Services And Groove
      2007, MSDN Magazine, Retrieved November 4th, 2008, from

IBM Lotus Sametime Unyte Web Conferencing Service (n.d.). Overview.
      Retrieved November 3, 2008, from

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and Related Technologies Pricing (n.d.). Microsoft Office
      SharePoint Server. Retrieved November 1, 2008, from

Using Word with Google Docs-Office Watch (2007). Using Word with Google Docs. Office
      Watch, Retrieved November 3, 2008, from

Ward, T. (2008). The pros and cons of SharePoint. IntranetBlog. Retrieved November 1, 2008,

You Tube-Google Apps Team Edition Overview. (n.d.). Google Apps Team Edition Overview
      [Video File]. Video posted to

                                 There’s No I in Team

You Tube-Google Docs in Plain English. (n.d.). Google Docs in Plain English [Video File].
      Video posted to

You Tube-Google Sites: Simple, secure group websites. (n.d.). Google Sites: Simple, secure
      group websites [Video File]. Video posted to

You Tube- Microsoft Grove 2007 & OneNote. (n.d.) Micrsoft Groove 2007 & OneNote [Video
      File]. Video posted to


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