Collaboration web apps to beat the Credit Crunch

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With the promise of a credit crunch fast approaching, people are starting to tighten their belts. The tech industry can often be one of the first to experience budget cuts and project cancellations but with distributed teams able to work together it doesn’t have to be this way. None of the new collaborations applications cost a fortune and most are free to try/use. The following is a guest post by Jake Stride, md of the Senokian agency which has spun out the TactileCRM suite of tools for small businesses.

Customer Management

Tools like Relanta, started by the Russian Dmitri Eroshenko, allow you to manage and maintain email across your team, and the US based Highrise and Pipeline Deals, allow you to keep your address book online and manage your sales pipeline.


With organisations working from disparate locations and the increase of home working, a good group collaboration tool is a must to ensure projects work in a streamlined fashion and that there is no unnecessary time wasted.

London based Huddle has an excellent online collaboration tool that offers whiteboards, document management and all the tools you need to keep your team working together. Other solutions are available that meet some of the criteria, but not in one easy to use system. Backpack and hosted SharePoint are others to consider.


For many the World is now their oyster. Dimdim has launched their Open Source meeting platform for easy online meetings with colleagues and clients, as has Adobe Connect. have a great online platform for scheduling meetings and getting everyone together, and the old favourites such as Webex and GoToMeeting can still be useful.

Project Management

As we found recently there has been much discussion recently in the tech sector about project managment tools. From Chinwag’s uk-netmarketing list, to PHPWM, there are lots of tools available, but none that seem to quite fit everyone’s needs. Huddle’s solution can be a good fit when you need the collaboration tools, and there are offerings from Intervals, ActiveCollab, and Basecamp too.

Project Management is one of the few places that people seem to get particularly passionate about solutions that don’t quite fit their needs and one where it is worth spending a bit of time looking into solutions.

Support & Customer Service

We’ve all heard the adage, it’s easier to keep/upsell to an existing customer than to find a new one. Keeping them happy is promised by new startup ZenDesk‘s online support desk system, allowing you to manage your tech support tickets. Resolve RM is currently in beta and aims to make managing day to day customer enquiries and returns easier to manage.


From Freshbooks to Xero to Free Agent Central online accounting is great and can really make the most of your time. We use Freshbooks as it has a handy feature to email clients when they are overdue and do a certain amount of credit control/chasing for us.

All of the tools mentioned here are web-based, there are many others out there and this is by no means a complete list. For startups and established companies alike, there are plenty out there to make life easier and hopefully help to avoid the credit crunch.

As startups ourselves it’s all about making the most of the resources we have, and using the types of tools we create to help us work smarter.

  • Deirdre Molloy

    Great post Jake, and thanks for the namecheck of Chinwag’s uk-netmarketing list. It’s obviously a much more general forum but daily elicits very precise help and feedback from a wide range of skilled folks, old-skool stylee :-)

    Internally, we tried Basecamp for a while in 06/07, but it wasn’t efficient enough for linking into multiple projects and we gave up. On a daily basis we use MediaWiki and Conceptshare for internal and contractor collaboration. We also dabble in quite a few others apps for different purposes. Collaborative web apps definitely give startups a real boost – if they are reliable, and depending how business-critical uptime is.

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  • Mohammad Al-Ubaydli

    Love this list, it comes at a very good time for me.

    One suggestion I have is for WhenIsGood which I switched to using recently instead of because the GUI for selecting time slots is so nice. It’s like squeezing bubble wrap :-)

  • Strawp

    Under meetings:

    It’s like except more glossy and has Outlook integration.

  • Jake Stride

    @Mohammad and @Strawp thanks for the links I’ll definitely take a look

  • Andrew Cameron-Webb

    Hi Jake,
    Check out – our unique OpenSosius architecture allows you to expand the capabilities of the Sosius platform by integrating with best of breed applications. Using the OpenSosius Services API any developer or company can integrate the applications they want to use within Sosius, we already have tools from Zoho , DimDim, iPaper, PicLens, Echo Sign & Powwownow working on the platform with more being added all the time.

  • Rob Eberstein

    Great post Jake. Already checking out a few of these applications.

  • Cuan Mulligan

    valueable info Jake, there is certainly a lot of “colab” tools out there, and there is yet to be one killer app, (if there is a such a thing).
    I just hope that there is not too many apps created that fragment the market so much that no one makes it….

  • Rob Mathieson

    “With the promise of a credit crunch fast approaching, people are starting to tighten their belts.”

    I think someone has missed something. The credit crunch has already been and is on its way out mate! :)

  • Poppy Coppinger

    Nice article, it’s would have been handy to have this a few months ago while looking round for an online ‘colab’ app out there. :-) This is now a great reference for people.

    I agree with what you said about Project managment apps and trying to find one that works for you. We were using Basecamp but not being able to add dates to tasks was a bit of a killer for us so we moved over to a new app It’s been really handing for us running our business as we don’t all work out of the same office/city but again as you say above, there is still anyways a few extra features that you would love to have to really customise it to suit us better.

    I wasn’t aware of that you mentioned above for invoicing and it sounds like something that would suit us, so going to have to give that ago.

  • Jay

    Anyone check out Convos for group collab? Interesting approach to using online groups with more of an app-like interface.

  • iLan

    @Cuan Mulligan : we might be building what you’re looking for! Sign up for the private beta at
    Great post Mike, I believe that the Collab & PM space is going to change a lot in the next couple of years, because it hasn’t evolved that much lately, and didn’t really catch up with the latest web trends & technologies. It will be interesting to see how it does evolve…

  • John

    You are so right about the unique needs of people evaluating project management software. It seems like everyone is looking for the one web-based app to fulfill all our needs. But the truth is that we all have our own way of doing things and we want a tool that requires a minimal amount of bending on our part. The space is only going to grow bigger as more companies move operations over to web-based tools. I agree with iLan, we are going to see a lot of change in the next couple of years.

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    All of the tools mentioned here are web-based, there are many others out there and this is by no means a complete list. For startups and established companies alike, there are plenty out there to make life easier and hopefully help to avoid the credit crunch.

    As startups ourselves it’s all about making the most of the resources we have, and using the types of tools we create to help us work smarter.

  • Andrew Donnelly

    Hi Jake,

    Another great tool for Web collaboration is Mikogo – the free online meeting tool
    You can start free meetings with no network changes or complicated configurations straight from your desktop. All features are included for free with no time limitations: switch presenter, remote control, file transfer, application selection, Mikogo Skype Extra, 256bit AES encryption and more. Ideal for presentations, webinars, remote support, and team collaboration.
    There are no registrations or installations required by the participants. They simply join straight from the website using the unique meeting ID from the organizer.
    We’re looking at making free online meetings with Mikogo greater and easier with the new version soon to be released. It would be great if you had a moment to check out our website and let me know what your impression is of our app. If you would like to know more about Mikogo, please let me know.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    All the best,

    The Mikogo Team

  • Bojimha

    I agree with you on huddle front, I love that tool!

  • Jon Vaughan

    Hey don’t forget Bionic Books – we’re a bit newer than the others but we do web based accounting too.

  • rebelvirals

    Be the first to see our latest viral video – a satirical look at the Credit Crunch featuring Bush and Brown:

    Sit back, relax and forget about the recession for a couple of minutes.

  • Adriano

    Nice list Jake! In particular, thanks for Relenta. They managed to combine the power of CRM with simplicity of email the most logical way possible. BTW there’s a typo, the link is correct but the company name is misspelled.

  • iInvoicing

    iInvoicing It calculates VAT and organises and simplifies your bookkeeping so that your accountant can get straight to work, also saving you time and money.

  • ian

    iPlanWare TeamWorks PPM and project management software is worth investigation if you need a tool that also deals with timesheets, resource planning and resource scheduling.

  • Tamara Holmes

    Chances are you’ve already felt the squeeze of today’s global credit crunch. Whether you’re barely able to make your mortgage payments due to skyrocketing interest rates or can’t seem to find a bank that will give you a decent mortgage loan because you’re a first time buyer.

  • Calli

    Tech Crunch, I enjoyed this blog update.

    I really would like to speak with you about another topic regarding one of the aforementioned companies. I’m trying to find your email or some form of contact, but cannot find it. Could you send it to me and write me back?

    I appreciate it. Look forward to speaking with you!

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