I enjoyed a chat with Colin Barnes, CEO of Manchester, UK-based SaaS construction collaboration vendor Collabor8online, recently. His business launched in late 2009 (post) and is pitched at the competitive, small-to-medium sized business (SME), low-cost end of the construction collaboration market (post), but that hasn’t stopped him developing features emulating some of the more sophisticated players (particularly now that he can call upon a small offshore development team based in Goa, India). For example, Collabor8online’s latest features include:
- Time-sheet and Google calendar integration – extending earlier calendar integration, the updated tool enables a business to monitor time expended on projects, with Gantt-style views of past tasks and future workloads
- Improved email integration – ‘push’ notifications have always been part of the Collabor8online offering, but now email exchanges can be imported into a correspondence module (ability to import attachments is planned for a forthcoming update)
- ‘Dropbox’-style folder synchronisation allowing files to be shared simply between Collabor8online and a desktop folder (subject to user permissions)
This development and proactivity contrasts with the apparent dormance of UK-based competitors such as Woobius Hub (no website updates for months, and the blog wasn’t migrated when Posterous closed on 30 April) and CloudsUK (no news since October 2011).
As Colin said, you can’t afford to slow down as new entrants are testing the market all the time. He mentioned Ireland-based Teamworkpm, for example, and just in the last week, I’ve had emails about two other generic solutions:
- Samepage is not construction-specific, but its simple, low-cost, social-media influenced approach to file-sharing and collaboration may appeal to organisations, departments or teams who want to keep everybody ‘on the same page’ across multiple devices (Samepage has been developed by California, US-based Kerio Technologies).
- SkySync apparently is a Windows-based platform that “enables enterprises to search, sync, move, and organize large-volumes of files across multiple cloud and on-site storage systems” (including SharePoint, Huddle, Box, DropBox and SkyDrive, with Google Drive, GMail and Microsoft Exchange coming soon). I say ‘apparently’ as when I came to review it this morning it was unavailable (not a great advert for an online file-sharing platform).