In the era of information technologies running business has become less routine and more efficient.
Modern market provides us with an extensive list of online tools that help manage almost all business processes starting from collaboration and ending with bookkeeping.
Among this variety there are some unquestionable leaders like Basecamp in project management, Quickbooks in accounting, Google Analytics in web analytics and Salesforce in CRM*. While the quality of these well-known services is undoubted, some companies still may find their cost unaffordable or functionality limited.
That’s why below we’ve gathered a collection of online solutions that can’t boast ubiquitous popularity like their mature analogs but offer a competitive number of features and decent pricing plans.
*Based on the survey and great infographics by Jennifer Van Grove published on Mashable.com http://mashable.com/2011/07/26/startup-tools
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Project Management & Collaboration
TeamLab integrates a number of online tools that allows colleagues to organize business tasks, coordinate teamwork and track work results. Along with project management features, this platform also offers a rich collaboration toolset: forums, blogs, chat and multichat, events, bookmarks. The TeamLab significant distinction from other similar systems is a tangible emphasis on document management. The “Documents” module enables users not only to save and share files in the TeamLab corporate system but edit as well. There are two editing options available: either to run built-in Open Office application or launch web browser editor. Overall, TeamLab is a complete fully-featured system that stands out in the row of project management platforms due to an easy-to-use interface, wider collaboration and docs functionality.
Free – 93% of options available, no users/time/projects limits
$49 monthly – 100% of options available
LessAccounting lets you keep track of corporate finances in a smart and simple way. You can organize expenses in several sections, e.g. by project, income type or any other category. The service also gives an opportunity to setup recurring invoices, mark them paid or add notes. Any sample from the fine collection of customizable templates may be turned into a corporate sales proposal or invoice. LessAccounting pays special attention to experienced online users who have already maintained databases in other web resources. Automatic importer from Gmail, Basecamp, Highrise and Quickbooks makes migration completely stressless and quick. All the potential clients are promised to get special attention and care: the service team guarantees every company to help import and setup all their data completely for free.
$30 monthly – unlimited transactions, members and support
Piwik is a real time web analytics solution providing a similar toolset like Google Web Analytics. You get full information about your website visitors, their navigation track and top content pages. You are able to set goals and keywords, track conversion rate as well. Unlike its eminent competitor, Piwik is downloadable and open source software that is installed on your server and this way keeps your data extremely safe. Another difference from Google tool is the program customizable interface: you can put the widgets in the order you’d like with the “drag&drop” option, choose the most necessary features and delete the rarely used ones. On the whole, Piwik is a decent alternative to Google Web Analytics for those who prefer in-house solutions and respect open source policy.
Pricing plans: Completely free
Social Media Analytics
Although social media marketing is an evident necessity, there are still few systems that allow for maintaining professional monitoring and analysis of virtual community. Except for Google Alerts, Social Mention presents the most thorough and full toolset for social media analytics. It aggregates the content of social networks and blogs, video and image sharing platforms, forums, questions&answers services. It also defines your brand reputation counting the frequency of brand mentioning and estimates the audience attitude calculating the “sentiment” ratio – the number of positive, neutral and negative mentions. To keep track of “social buzz” you can choose either to use the automated alerts system to be personally notified by email or insert the Social Mention widget showing every new mention in real time right in a website.
LandslideCRM is a fully-featured CRM system designed both for small and large businesses. It offers account&contact management, activity&tasks management and can be easily accessed from any device that supports Internet connection. There’s a number of additional options worth saying about. You are able to develop forecasts and reports, share documents and presentations, and organize live meetings powered by GoToMeeting web conferencing technology. The system also has a few add-ons that include Salesforce, Quickbooks, Gmail plug-ins and many more. The listed set of functionality is quite enough to satisfy requirements of average user.
Free 30-day trial
$29 monthly – the standard set available for one user
I hope you’ll find the information given here helpful. I’ll be also happy to know your opinion about the given tools or any other that you prefer to use. Your feedback is warmly welcome!
Olga is a marketing specialist with a primary emphasis on web based startups. She writes for TeamLab corporate blog, manages the project’s promotion in social media.