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6 top picks for small business collaboration software

Vangie Beal | Nov. 7, 2013
From basic document collaboration to video conferencing and scheduling, these collaboration tools help small businesses connect people and information.

Collaboration software lets a business share ideas and information among people and across an organization. In an age when contractors and teleworkers are the norm for small businesses, it's easy to see why collaboration software can help connect people and information when it's needed most.

Collaboration software enables communication, but there are many other benefits to consider: Improved project management, better workflow, better management of invoicing and knowing that employees and partners have immediate access to critical business information and documents when they need it.

Many collaboration systems are designed to meet the needs of most small businesses. Many are affordable, too, available as cloud-hosted applications that charge companies based on the number of employees using the software.

Here are six full-featured options for anyone looking to invest in small business collaboration software. Most integrate with your existing office productivity and communication tools; if not, you can migrate existing data from a number of sources and programs.

AffinityLive: Index All Clients and Interactions
AffinityLive is a customizable business system designed to help businesses manage clients and projects. It offers tools to organize business contacts, email and calendars, as well as share information and documents with your colleagues.

Key features include task tracking, project management, scheduling, accounting integrating and email, notes and collaboration. Users can create a central index of all client email interactions, stored against the sale, project, issue or client they relate to. AffinityLive integrates with online business tools such as Google Apps, Exchange Server, Yammer, Intuit, Twitter and MailChimp.

AffinityLive can help small businesses to organize business contacts and share information from a central index.

Price: AffinityLive offers plans starting at $29 per user per month, with its premier cloud platform starting at $59 per user per month.

Box: Centralize, Share Online Data
The Box service offers online sharing and collaboration for any business, from the small home offices to schools to enterprise IT shops. Using Box you can securely store content online to access, manage and share it from anywhere.

The Project Collaboration feature is designed to centralize files in a single online workspace so co-workers, contractors or anyone else to whom you grant access can view, edit or upload files and collaborate on specific projects or tasks. Box Business and Box Enterprise accounts, meanwhile, provide a central place for sales and prospects to share critical information. Box integrates with, Google Apps and other business services.

Price: Business plans offering content collaboration and user management start at $15 per user per month. A $5 per user per month Box Starter Plan is also available.

DeskAway: Web-based Project Management
DeskAway Web-based project collaboration software helps sync the different teams in your business by providing a central location to organize, manage and track work. The app provides secure online backup and is permission-based to give users control what information stays private, is public or gets shared.


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