I’m a sucker when it comes to collaboration and internal documentation products. I’ll read about them, write about them, try everyone that comes out, and generally just espouse their benefit to anyone that will listen. Especially with the rise of more virtual and distributed teams, an online repository of information can bring about much efficiency and help to avoid confusion that comes with disorganization. Even the worst collaboration tools are better than no collaboration tools.
When discussing options in this space, it seems that everyone talks about a Wiki. Have a team? You have to have a wiki. The problem is that most wikis are just too darned hard to use. Sure, your techy folks will love auto camel-casing links but your average user will tear their hair out trying to master them. The concept is strong though, a collaborative internal workspace, or Intranet, that can be maintained and updated by everyone involved can do wonders for making sure that each person has the most current information that they need.
Many products are now being marketed as Small Business Intranets. These offer Wiki type functions without the complexity, often with WYSIWYG editors and promise a more user friendly experience. Sexy and Intranet aren’t words that usually go together but Papyrs from the team over at Stunf make this combination work. The folks behind the also gorgeous Thymer task manager make working with an Intranet not only bearable, but really quite a pleasure..
Like most products in this space, Papyrs covers the basics well. Page level permissions for viewing and editing let you segment your information accordingly. You can categorize and structure your pages for easy navigation and a good search facility lets you find information quickly. Comment functionality makes communication easy and centralized. The interface is really intuitive, you simply drag and drop page elements to add them or rearrange them on your pages.
I also really like the ability to use this as a data collection and workflow system. The page designer includes the standard form field type options. Workflow rules can be added so that submitted data can move through people or groups as the status is updated, most likely used in an approval situation. Forms can also be made public to gather data from customers or clients.
There is enough flexibility in the product that it could be used for just about any purpose and in many environments. The functionality makes your operations people happy, the customization makes your designer happy, and the ease of use and attractive interface makes your users happy.
There are some fantastic options already available in the small business Intranet space but Papyrs floats right up towards the top for me. The obvious competitor in this area would be Backpack and in many ways the functionality is similar. Backpack has calendaring and reminder functionality which is omitted from Papyrs so the right option for you may vary, but in many cases Papyrs can be a much more customizable and feature rich solution.
If you’re looking for an Intranet solution for your small business or team, take a close look and see if Papyrs could be a good fit for you. For me, I’m itching to start a new company just so I have a good reason to use it.