Colosseum - Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Colosseum - Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Collaboration is a broad arena and these days we have dozens, nay hundreds, of collaboration species; beautiful, multi-hued, extremely capable. Some of the best examples are the beauty of Gotomeeting, the power of Podio, and the elegance of ShareFile. Of course there are also the many non-Citrix variants, enterprise social, and traditional technologies like email, phone and face to face meetings.

So this is a good thing, right?

Wrong.

I’ve been forced into the colosseum to battle with YACs (yet another collaboration system) just too many times. These days, most of us are very aware of the cost in effort, focus and time to bring in more YACs. For myself, I’m limiting it to no more than a YAC a month. So I’m intrigued by an approach to collaboration that gives the upside of fancy YACs, but doesn’t insist on up front effort learning to drive and thrive in a new collaboration framework.

GrexIt is a Citrix Startup Accelerator company that adds core collaboration capabilities to good old (comfortable) email – in other words they enable email collaboration. This is cool stuff. Here are some of their thoughts on how to take an existing technology (email) and make just enough changes to let existing behaviors achieve ever so much more.

  • Signaling: What if when I sent an email to a colleague about a project or a customer, it could be filed automatically with a corresponding label, or in a corresponding folder. When I assign a task to someone, it again gets filed under a folder called “My Tasks”
  • A Cure for Clutter: Really, why should you have to CC 25 people on an email if you want just 3 of them to read it right away. Why can’t you file it somewhere without cluttering the inboxes of those 23 people, from where they can find it later if they need it.”
  • Cross Inbox Discovery: What if I could go beyond my personal inbox to find information that is relevant to me.

All of these are part of their popular email collaboration technology for google apps. Is this the future of collaboration? It may well be. In any case I love the idea of winning the collaboration war without constant colosseum battles. Check out GrexIt for a fresh approach to email collaboration.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” (attributed to Albert Einstein)