ERoom spruces up hosted collaboration offering

Next week collaboration software provider eRoom Technology Inc. plans to roll out an updated version of its hosted digital workplace offering, featuring integrated real-time communication tools and new business process capabilities.eRoom.net is a subscription version of the Cambridge, Mass.-based company's collaboration software platform. The service is designed to minimize costs and deployment issues by allowing enterprises to quickly tap the online offering for individual projects.

Aiming to boost the effectiveness of distributed teams, Version 6.0 of eRoom.net ties real-time services closer to the asynchronous communications. In previous versions of the offering, real-time functionality was offered as a companion product to the digital workspace, according to Jake Sorofman, eRoom senior product marketing manager.

The improved real-time capabilities allow a user to right-click on a document or object and share directly into a real-time session from within the asynchronous environment, Sorofman said. In addition, after sharing a document or performing a group edit, the content, changes, and context surrounding the real-time session are captured and ported to the asynchronous context, he said.

"That is meaningful in the context of a broader project where people come together at various points in time in a real-time context to have discussions, resolve issues, and set strategy. But they need to work independently over time towards larger milestones and goals in an asynchronous environment," he said. "Leveraging the persistence of the asynchronous environment within the context of a real-time session provides a lot of value."

The updated version also features usability enhancements designed to make the hosted collaboration workspaces as intuitive as possible, said Linea Rowe, director of hosted operations at eRoom. To that end, eRoom streamlined the user interface and cut out some steps required to initiate sessions.

Furthermore, eRoom.net gains new approval management and business process capabilities designed to facilitate cross-enterprise projects and processes, company officials said. Linking project approval capabilities within the collaboration workspace can help accelerate business processes around specification or proposal approvals, for example, which must occur at specific points during the life cycle of documents for different project teams, according to Rowe.

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