Collaboration tools are either too costly to purchase or too time consuming to set up for some small businesses. If this is the case for your company, TeamLab is worth checking out. TeamLab is an online portal that allows you to easily -- and without cost associated with service -- set up the following tools:
- Project Management (tasks, milestones, documents, discussions, reports)
- CRM (contacts, tasks, opportunities, cases)
- Documents (create, upload, edit, share)
- Calendar (sharing, permissions, multiple calendars)
- Community (blogs, chat, forums, wiki, bookmarks)
TeamLab does not require installation The free version limits you to 1 GB of space, however, the free hosted service allows you to purchase more storage space at these costs:
- 20 GB and advanced files upload for $19 per month
- 50 GB and advanced files upload for $49 per month
Registration and customization
When you register, you must set up a name for the site; the name will be prepended to the url (e.g., I created getjackd.teamlab.com). After you complete the registration, you can access your site by going to http://YOURCOMPANY.teamlab.com (YOURCOMPANY is the name you created at registration).
After you log in, you will want to take care of all the customizations, so your portal better fit your company. To get to the customization page of your portal, follow these steps:
1. Log in as the administrator (you created the administrator during registration).2. Click the Portal Settings icon (Figure A).
3. Click the Customization tab.
4. Scroll though and customize to your heart's content. You can configure the Name Of Site, Logo, Color Scheme, and Template.Figure A
Remove the icons and logo on the banner by clicking the drop-down arrow at the right side of the banner.4. Go to the Products & Modules tab (Figure B).
5. Check to enable or uncheck to disable the modules you do or do not want.
6. Click Save.Figure B
Coming soon to a TeamLab near you -- an email management module.
With your TeamLab site, you can take care of these administrative tasks:
- Manage administrators
- Back up your site
- Deactivate your site
- View statistics for your site
The ability to view statistics is especially crucial when you are using the free version. Keeping track of your stored files will ensure you don't go over the storage limit and will help you see if/when you need to upgrade your storage size.
From the Portal Settings page, you can back up and deactivate your TeamLab site. The backup will create a link that will allow you to download the backup file (.bak) to your desktop. To do this, follow these steps:
- Go to the Portal Settings page.
- Click the Backup/Deactivation tab.
- Click the Perform Backup button.
- After the backup is created, click the provided link (the link is also emailed to the site admin) to download the .bak file.
TeamLab is an outstanding tool for companies on a tight budget. Even if you have to pay for the extra storage space, you're looking at around just over $200.00 USD per year for a full-blown collaboration tool. Give TeamLab a try, and see if it meets your company's needs for an easy to use collaboration tool.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.