Shared Online Organizer Access
For those who elect to go the outsourced service route, rather than the roll-your-own-server approach, there are still lots of options for obtaining shared access to organizer, calendaring, and scheduling functions. For such products, service charges run anywhere from $25 per user per year and up (with typical minimum numbers of users in the 10 to 25 range); some require access to a database server within an organization while others provide complete turnkey implementations.
Except for the shared functionalityincluding publish and subscribe tools to provide and manage shared phone book entries, meeting negotiation tools, shared schedule data, and so forththese packages offer the same features and functions as the personal online organizers. In fact, most of them permit individual users to maintain personal phone and address books, as well as to access published shared database materials. And as with the personal versions, all work with any device that offers (or simulates) a Web browser to access its data.
Here again, there are hundreds of vendors who offer products in this general market niche. We found the following to be particularly interesting or noteworthy, but the list is by no means exhaustive:
eCal Corporation (http://www.ecal.com) offers service solutions for shared calendaring, scheduling, and contact data to ISPs and individual organizations.
Companies like Citadon (http://www.citadon.com), OpenText Corporation (http://www.opentext.com), and the interactive marketing group (http://www.imgusa.com/aboutus_pressreleases.asp?pPressReleaseId=81) all offer custom online collaboration services that normally include shared calendaring, scheduling, and contact information (among other capabilities).
AutoDesk corporation offers numerous project and process collaboration tools, all of which included basic information sharing capabilities; their subsidiary, buzzsaw.com offers these capabilities as online services (http://www.buzzsaw.com).
WebEx (http://www.webex.com) offers a wide variety of information sharing and collaboration services and technologies that include online meetings, conferences, seminars, expert conferencing for technical support, as well as more conventional information sharing capabilities.
In addition to the other downsides mentioned for personal online organizers, it's important to understand that shared online organizer services cost more money. This is especially true when systems must be customized to fit specific organizational needs and requirements.