Guest post from Alexander Mitnikov.
Where does a typical software vendor come from? IT-companies from the USA, the UK, Canada, India and Germany have a substantial representation in the market. However, in search for a suitable project management tool for instance one might bump into some extraordinary countries. Serbian business tool, software from Denmark, Latvian startup – these are the word combinations that rarely bother our hearing and even when they do chances are that you are not likely to put your faith in such vendors due various reasons like fear of a scam or general watchfulness towards something new and unfamiliar. Consequently, less popular IT-companies are compelled to come up with outstanding features to get their share of customers. The purpose of this article is to illustrate what practical advantages some exotic software vendors have to offer by giving several concrete examples.
Podio ( https://company.podio.com/project-management-software ) is an all-inclusive project management and web collaboration tool from Denmark that supplies its users with an overwhelming amount of features: projects, tasks, milestones, calendar, meetings, discussions, file-sharing, email integration, reporting, budget control, CRM and many more. Mentioning a tool that it does not encompass is quite a challenge. However, that’s not the biggest advantage of Podio. Comprehensive functionality is undoubtedly a plus, but Podio goes even further and grants a full-scale mobile access to its services. Podio App Store offers hundreds of free applications for business that can be either obtained separately or in special packs depending on the functionality you need. The applications are available on Android and iPhone. Everything from business development and community management to human resources and marketing is at your disposal. Clear and reasonable pricing plans ($8 per an employee per month) is one more reason to pay attention to a vendor from Denmark. The company is backed by the Nordic-based venture capital investor Sunstone Capital, which makes it a trustworthy partner.
ActiveCollab ( http://www.activecollab.com/) is another full-fledged project management/collaboration product. It was developed by a Serbian company named A51 d.o.o. The toolset of activeCollab has every right to be called outstanding. It includes all the necessary features to keep track of your projects, collaborate with your team and partners, save time as well as the ability to integrate the product with other services according to your specific needs. What makes activeCollab trustworthy and more functional at the same time is its deployment solution. The tool can be installed on your own server, thus it gives you more freedom than you get with SaaS solution e.g. you are not limited by the amount of users, projects or storage space for your documents. Availability of the source code of the product is another factor that verifies the company’s status and its serious intentions to establish a long-term partnership with its customers. ActiveCollab offers two types of perpetual licenses for $499 and $249 that differ in the amount of features supplied. A free demo version is also available which makes Serbian product an attractive offer for modern businesses.
TeamLab ( http://www.teamlab.com/ ) is last but not least on our list (no pun intended). A promising Latvian startup also has something to brag about, namely online services for various businesses. Among those are project management, community building, CRM, calendar, reports on user activity and workload, internal chat, wiki etc. Just like its Serbian rival (or in this context soul mate) TeamLab developers decided to lay their cards on the table and provide access to its source code to promote openness and reliability. The product is also available in SaaS version for those who prefer ready-to-use services hosted by professionals. TeamLab’s gimmick is undoubtedly its document management feature. Presentations, images, spreadsheets can be uploaded and added to a particular task or project. Users are enabled to create, share, import and what’s more important – edit documents online. The recent introduction of the first full-fledged HTML5-based word processor leaves no doubt that the company is planning to keep on developing in this realm. The only thing you are charged for is additional services that include either 20 or 50 GB of extra storage space and advanced files upload for $19 or $49 per month respectively.
To sum up, modern software market’s geography has expanded dramatically. With all due respect for software vendors who have already established a good reputation, sometimes developers from the countries that can be easily called dwarfs of the industry have a lot more to offer. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to shift our focus dramatically towards the newcomers of the market. Our goal as consumers is to take into account as many options as possible no matter where they are from. This in turn will intensify market competition inevitably increasing the quality of the products represented. What can be more motivating than that?
For more resources, see the Library topic Project Management.
Alexander Mitnikov is a freelance translator interested in modern business and technology trends. His passion is software that helps entrepreneurs and freelancers like himself enhance their working process to the full. He is currently working as a marketer at Ascensio System SIA.