How do you go from 5 authors to 47, all collaborating on the same documentation? This is the issue Anne Gentle wrestles with in her post Collaborative Authoring — Tools and Costs. She explores everything from Author-it Live to Drupal, Mediawiki, Alfresco, and SharePoint, including cost breakdowns for each tool.
Anne also cites research from Forrester about the rising trend of collaborative authoring:
37% of organizations surveyed in Forrester’s Q4 2008 enterprise and SMB software survey consider implementing a collaboration strategy important in 2009
I think collaborative authoring will continue to grow in the future. Large, expensive solutions may give way to more popular, open-source options. As more groups adopt open-source solutions, the open-source solutions will become stronger. Any time you have thousands of developers and users behind a platform, they create a surge of extensions and themes, hacks and tutorials, enhancements and workarounds.
No single project team can compete with the collective contributions of thousands of developers on a global scale. And just maybe — here’s a thought — the best platforms for collaborative authoring are those platforms that are collaboratively constructed themselves.