Colabolo is an Adobe Air app that soft-launched a few days ago and wants to simplify the way tasks in a team are assigned, managed and resolved. Available in English and Japanese, the app (currently in beta) is offered by Tokyo-based ImaHima. By combining the ease of use of email with the structure of project management solutions, Colabolo intends to help handling tasks that require team work such as sales leads, approval requests, document reviews, support requests, etc.
After installing the client (system requirements), Colabolo starts with an almost spartan interface that indeed looks like that of an email client. User can create a new task (called “issue”) in just a few seconds: Click on the “New Issue” button, name and describe the task, classify it by type, assign who is responsible and you’re done. All tasks can then be tracked (and filtered) at a glance in an inbox-like grid at the top of the screen. This is also where all updates made by team members are automatically sent to.
But Colabolo isn’t only for the project leader. All issues can be scheduled, commented on and discussed in real-time by added team members. Files can be shared with drag-and drop. And Colabolo can also be integrated into existing email accounts, essentially turning it into a help desk system when dealing with external customers.
An example: If an email from a customer arrives to your company’s support email address, it will not only be automatically converted into a new Colabolo-compatible support issue but also forwarded to the support team leader. The issue can then be assigned to another colleague whose comment on the issue can be used as an email reply back to the customer from within Colabolo. If the person in charge regards the task to be resolved, all team members involved get a notification in their Colabolo in-box and can move on to the next task.
ImaHima CEO Neeraj Jhanji says this built-in inbox (with push notifications) helps reducing the number of conventional emails significantly. Asked what other factors are distinguishing Colabolo from similar solutions already existing on the market Jhanji says Colabolo is easy to use even for non-technical staff (which is true), efficient (because users don’t have to wait to be online) and fast (because Colabolo behaves like a desktop application while syncing changes with all team members in the background).
Colabolo is free at the moment, with future pricing likely to stand at around $9.99 per month and user (in contrast to many competing products, there is no limit on projects, tasks or attached files). An iPhone app is also in development.
I liked Colabolo enough to at the very least recommend downloading and trying the app out, which is true especially for start-ups looking for a simple task management tool for their team. Colabolo faces a lot of competition in the online project management field (37Signals’ Basecamp, Action Method, Daptiv, LiquidPlanner, Huddle, Producteev, Clarizen, just to name a few).