As the workforce starts to become more mobile, employers are looking for numerous ways to improve productivity. This has caused collaboration software to become increasingly popular. A study, from Markets and Markets, was done in June 2016, showed that many organizations will spend $23.39 billion on cloud-bases collaboration software tools just in this year alone. By 2012, many analysts expect the market to grow to $42.57 billion, which shows that the compound annual growth rate is 12.7 percent.
Collaboration software will offer many small businesses a wide variety of benefits. Using this type of software will increase teamwork and communication amongst your team, especially if team members are located in different locations. They can also make the distribution of knowledge an easy task by targeting a wider range of employees. This can help to lessen the chance of employees wasting time by duplicating work. The software is also able to streamline your business, by reducing the need for face-to-face meetings which can decrease costs.
Collaboration tools can also be expensive, which means that some small businesses often have some difficulty finding the right software that has all the right features they need. Finding a small business collaboration tool that will fit your budget and your business needs can be a challenge. This is why many small businesses should look into an open source collaboration software. Open source software licenses do not cost anything, which makes them a much less expensive option, even if you decide to pay for support or cloud-bases versions of the tools. Plus, everyone will have access to the source code which means that you are able to customize the tools to your specific needs.
Let’s take a look at 4 of the best open source collaboration tools for small businesses.
- Collabtive Open Source Collaboration Software
If you have ever used or seen Basecamp, then Collabtive has a very familiar feel to it. It is a project management tool that allows you to track projects, milestones, task lists, and see tasks right from your browser. This software is able to send you email alerts when a project has been finished, anyone uploads a file, or if someone misses a deadline. It is also able to sync with many calendar applications. As an added security measure, Collabtive encrypts your data and offers role-based permissions. This means that you are able to control who is able to set up a project and who can mark the project as being complete.
If you are technically savvy you can download the open source collaboration software for free, and then install it on your own web server. Or if you would rather not do it yourself, then the company can host it for you in the cloud for a low price. However, be aware that the Collabtive is a European company so its prices are will be in Euros.
- Cyn.in Open Source Collaboration Software
Cyn.in is an all-in-one open source collaboration software tool. It is pretty similar to Microsoft Sharepoint, but it is a good option for setting up an intranet for your small business. This software includes tools for wikis, blogs, file sharing, calendars, discussion boards, bookmark directories, multimedia galleries, and many others.
If you have teams within your business that work on different projects, this software allows you to be able to set up separate collaboration spaces for every project. There are also social media-like tools that allow for discussions, status updates, and polls.
Cyn.in collaboration software is available in several different ways. First, you are able to download the open source version for free and then install it on your server. But this option does not come with technical support.They also have a subscription for the cloud-base service that you can buy. There are three pricing options that depend on the number of users. The last option is a pre-configured software appliance that resides in your facility. Choosing this options means that you will have to supply the hardware, but the software will come in one easy to install package. Plus you will get technical support and automatic updates.
- DokuWiki Open Source Collaboration Software
This software option is a simple option that is a less full-featured open source collaboration software option. DokuWiki is easy-to-use, and it is very effective for numerous tasks. It is able to set up a corporate knowledge base, a shared journal about a project, collaborative writing of a software manual, or creating an intranet.
DokuWiki is completely free to use, but you will also have to download and install it onto your own servers. For technical support, you are able to ask questions in the online community forum, or purchase professional support from a third party vendor.
- EGroupware Open Source Collaboration Software
The EGroupware is very similar to Microsoft Outlook, but the EGroupware has extra features for project management, time tracking, and collaboration. It also has a shared group calendar, address book, email, and file sharing. EGroupware is also available in a mobile version that means you can access everything right from your smartphone or tablet.
EGroupware offers their open source collaboration software in several versions. There is a free version that comes with an open source license, so you are able to download and run the program on your own hardware. While the full version adds more features and professional support. The price of this option is based on the number of users. EGroupware also offers a subscription-based cloud version, and the price is also based on the number of users.