Recently since all companies are more tech savvy, new ways of collaboration have been invented in order to facilitate the execution of projects. Apart from that, since a lot of people work far away from their company’s headquarters, web collaboration tools began to explode. Below some of the best collaboration tools are going to be presented so that you can choose easier which one suits your needs best. The collaboration tools that are reviewed are ActiveCollab, Basecamp, Jira, Lighthouse, and TeamLab.
ActiveCollab is a web-based project management and open-source collaboration tool that allows users to customize their projects to their own preference. As a hosted solution, it can be installed or a local network or server. It provides a dashboard-like interface that provides snapshots of the projects.
- Collaboration Features – Allows users to organize and manage all projects with a centralized system.
- Time-Logging – Allows users to download basic predefined reports as CVS files.
- Email Integration – Allows users to keep a detailed log of outgoing ad ingoing messages.
- Invoicing – Allows users to save time with the use of information from projects and time-logging.
Advantages of ActiveCollab
- No storage limit and monthly fees
- User friendly and fully-customized look
- Language management and translation
- Regular modules and plug-in updates
- Track files and enable comments
Disadvantages of ActiveCollab
- Minimal client interaction
- No metrics such as actual effort spent and task estimates
- Poor reporting capabilities
- Does not offer formatting options
- Poor incident tracking capabilities
ActiveCollab has two price features – one targeted towards SMBs while the other targets corporations. The SMB edition costs $299 per year while the corporate edition costs $499 per year. You can test ActiveCollab for free for 30 days too.
Basecamp is an online software package designed to make project collaboration and management easier. The entire system was created by The 37 Signals team and is accessed/managed online. Thus, you do not need to store any software or data on your computer. You can simply share the project management with the entire company or just to your fellow freelancers.
- To-Do List – This lets users add specific items and assign people for each task.
- File Sharing – With this feature, sharing documents is easier with clients and co-workers.
- Messages – Users can post messages easily and notify members of a group.
- Milestone & Time Tracking – This allows users to track deadlines and assign a milestone to their members. Time tracking allows them to record the hours they spend on a specific task or project.
Advantages of Basecamp
- Web-based and user-friendly
- Offers regular updates and enhancements
- Powered by Amazon S3, no security issues
- No hassle due to time tracking feature
- Allows collaboration within projects and understanding of their progress
Disadvantages of Basecamp
- Offers minimal branding
- Fairly expensive for an application
Basecamp is fairly expensive with $49 a month for the most basic package. Since you can only have minimal projects at one time, you are forced to upgrade to the next package which can significantly cut your budget.
Jira is commercial software licensed as an application with over 150 features and used for issue tracking, project management, and bug tracking.
- Access & Notifications – Allows users to browser access, mobile devices connection, email subscriptions, RSS, announcement banners, view and manage issues with IDE, and customize email content.
- Dashboards – Allows users to organize their favourite dashboards, gadgets, and subscriptions, and share/link to personal dashboards such as Gmail and iGoogle.
- Gadgets – Contains a number of gadgets, each with different tasks such as filtering, time tracking, summarizing activities and so forth.
- Installation – Allows users to use built-in importers, generate developer licenses, have automated backup, view system information, etc.
- Integration – Allows users to integrate source codes, add plug-ins, and collaborate with Wiki.
- International – Displays users’ local language and time zone.
- Issues – Allows addition and removal of issues
- Projects – Includes summary & reports, issues & filters, release notes, roadmap, etc.
- Navigation – Allows creation of new issues, access actions, browse projects, configure dashboards, etc.
- Reports and Charts – shows reports on charts.
- Search – Includes quick and simple search.
- Security – Allows anonymous access
- Workflow – Includes both default and custom workflow in handling projects.
Advantages of Jira
- Provides real user benefits
- Contains professionally executed codes
- Designed for international use
- Works with international collaborators
- Provides exceptional product support
The number of users determines Jira’s pricing, paying $7/month per user for the hosted version and $50/user for in-house. You can try Jira for free for 30 days.
Lighthouse is an organizational tool that makes work more effective by helping users simplify tasks. It can function with Tender Support to provide users a wide range of options to collaborate on their tasks and complete them.
- Full Email Integration – Allows users to make messages and reply to them from their email inbox.
- Milestones – Also allows users to plan upcoming features and establish their release dates by setting milestones.
- Behind-the-Scene Organization – Allows users to organize tasks automatically.
- Document and Sharing Tools – Allows users to submit a detailed ticket to anyone on the team.
- Project Consolidation – Allows users to combine projects and other related tasks.
Advantages of Lighthouse
- Created to suit various business types of five to ten members.
- Designed to integrate with Tender Support.
- Easy to navigate website
- Free trial for the first 30 days
- Allows tracking of the project’s progress
Users are given a 30-day trial before choosing among three membership plans. Bronze membership allows 10 projects, 15 members, 2 GB file storage for $25 a month. Silver members are allowed 20 projects, 50 members, and 10 GB storage for $50 a month. Gold memberships cost $100 a month for unlimited projects and member, and 50 GB of file storage. A personal membership is also available at $15 for 3 projects and 10 members.
TeamLab is an online service for CRM, business collaboration, and document/project management. It combines productivity tools to help companies solve common tasks and achieve results. It is designed for enterprises that want to take advantage of the Internet’s unlimited potential and to have immediate project management experience.
- CRM – Allows users to keep contacts, assign and track responsibilities, organize and analyze communications, edit and share files, control information, adjust to your customers, and sort all information.
- Project Management – Allows users to schedule project milestones, add tasks, create private projects, generate time-tracking reports, track their team and project activities, create reports, lead discussions, and add employees.
- Calendar – Allows users to organize their corporate and personal schedule.
- Email Aggregator – Allows users to receive, send, and organize email messages.
- Collaboration – Allows users to create posts in forums and blogs.
Advantages of TeamLab
- Automatic updates
- Free for 1Gb of storage
- Fast implementation
Disadvantages of TeamLab
- Only allows 1GB storage
- Only includes community module
- No control of access rights
Teamlab is an entirely free application with 1GB of storage capacity. If you want to upgrade your storage to up to 50 GB, you can get it at the premium rate which is $49.