Help Is On The Way
With a raft of collaboration tools present or hitting the market, competition in this space is fierce. Ubidesk from Palbridge hit beta late last year and is now ready for prime time. Ubidesk offers web-based, Microsoft Office-compatible document sharing and a raft of functions to enable teams to work on projects from conception to completion.
Now its out of beta, the usage costs have been made public, with a free option for small groups of up to five with 100MB of storage and a limited feature set.
Paid US$ 24 per month accounts add more users, 3GB of storage and a greater number of projects. In the middle is a US$ 49 plan for unlimited users and up to 100 projects and 10GB storage. At the top end, for US$ 120 unlimited projects are available and 20 GB of storage. There is a 30-day free trial for any of the paid options.
Bonding From Afar
With Palbridge's HQ in California and the developers in South Korea, Ubidesk has been road-tested by the team and designed to improve on weaknesses they have seen in other products. Projects can be categorized by type, public, private or kept hidden. Tasks can be assigned to members and linked to appropriate documents. The calendar can keep everyone's focus on deadlines while all changes are logged in the revision history, all stored in a secure Web environment.
With online editing, documents can be updated by anyone involved in the task, online discussions allow a forum to be established to debate issues, solve problems and highlight outstanding issues.
The overall look of the package isn't too far off a typical social site, with projects, teams and tasks tabbed down the right, current news in the main pain and recent activity below that.
The calendar and timeline are just one click off the homepage, so keeping in touch with the schedule is straightforward while file lists show who last modified it and when, making it obvious what activity is ongoing.
The star of Ubidesk is definitely the Sidebar which saves you having multiple browser windows open, as you can access content and messages while working on another document or message.
The Sidebar makes the browser window multifunctional
Accessible to boutique companies, small to medium businesses and ad hoc teams, you will have to go some distance to find a more accessible product than Ubidesk. Sure, the free version has only the base set of features but most will be able to afford one of the priced plans.
However, there is plenty of competition from the likes of Basecamp, and Ubidesk does lack mobile features, which may be a growing must-have as knowledge workers become ever more dependent on smartphones.