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    Collaboration beyond the firewall

    on 10 May 2016


    Posted by Jacqui Hogan

    I’ve found this week rather frustrating. A group of us have been struggling to produce an agreed statement paper for an important aspect of technical development. Our group consists of members belonging to several, external organisations. We’ve been using email to collaborate but it’s become a major headache.

    We have endless emails, some with important pieces of conversation that aren’t always shared with the whole group. We have ‘Replies to all’, which bombard all members, regardless of relevance. Then someone forgot to include an attachment, which only leads to more confusion and unnecessary emails. A Mac user added a bunch of cool graphs but my firewall wouldn’t allow me see them. Someone else attached an old version of our shared document, which had been updated by another member. So we now have at least 2 versions, and don’t know which the latest is. Nightmare!

    3rd Party time

    Whether we like it or not, we increasingly need to share information and data with people outside our own organisation. Trouble is, we treat other people’s data coming into our organisation as if it was a Trojan Horse; one full of sneaky soldiers that come to do battle and destroy our internal data. This makes it really difficult to collaborate effectively on joint projects or initiatives.

    Even as recently as five years ago, most of our work was done inside our organisation. Today, it’s mostly collaborative. Many of our clients or partners are not based within easy travelling distance; some are not even in the same country. Our suppliers are all over the world these days too. Talking to clients and suppliers has become much more interactive, with an exponential rise in the number of emails.

    Which third parties do you work with? It’s probably more than you think.

    Email woes

    We don’t want to be bombarded with endless ‘I agree’ emails. If we get sent more than one version of a document we get confused, and don’t like having to phone the senders to find out which is which. We have better things to do with our time.

    Email is great for telling people things they might find interesting, but horrible for having conversations or sharing documents or anything that requires interaction basically!

    Surely you can do better than that? Well yes. Think about using an online collaboration tool that allows you to have conversations and share documents without having to endlessly attach them to emails.

    Intranet Vs Email

    If you’re lucky, you probably have a pretty sophisticated Intranet. It enables you to share documents, have conversations etc.; but only with your colleagues inside your organisation. Try to do this outside your organisation and suddenly you’re back to email. If you find this frustrating – you’re not alone. You’ll have to go back to basics in how you work, unless you use an online collaboration tool. An online collaboration tool is like sharing your intranet, but without the risk.

    I hate my firewall

    Most of us don’t care whether our firewall is having a bad day. We understand the need for keeping our data secure, but don’t want that security to get in the way of what we want to do. Sure they serve an essential purpose – keeping out the spammers and hackers. However, they can also block all the interesting interaction with the outside world too.

    Sharing stuff outside the firewall using online collaboration tools overcomes this too. Just make sure you are using tools that are secure.

    Working differently

    There is no doubt that the world of people working together has changed and will continue to change; our ability to do this effectively rests with ourselves and the tools we choose to support our activities.

    If you’re still just using email, please think again. Online collaboration tools are game changing and introduce greater efficiencies for teams that need to share content and co-ordinate their activities with third parties.


    Glasscubes is a cost effective, easy to use and secure collaboration tool for businesses. Find out more about how it could help you rise to the challenge of third party collaboration +44 (0)20 3274 2310.