The Virtual Organisation – for Startups, Projects & Co

09Jul08

What have startups, small independant remote offices, branches and even serious longer term projects in common?  A bunch of demanding people with a cause and often very diverse backgrounds and personal technologies.  Members are usually quite autonomous and very mobile.  They often don’t have offices, or if they have, not every member is their on a regular basis.

What do they need?  Common technology (easy accessibility of common infrastructure, such as Internet and web technologies), Communication (Email, IM, SMS, VoIP, twitter, blogs, website), Collaboration (sharing, conferencing, discussion, co-editing, co-producing, coordination).

So here is our pick:

Google Apps (for short term projects where everybody has a Gmail account, Gmail, Google Docs etc may be eough) including Google Sites for project planning and management using RSS feeds of internal changes, external relevant sites, calendar,..

Google add.ons such as RememberTheMilk, maybe in combination with GTDinbox

Twitter is great to send status and info updates of the project, so we recommend to setup a project account to which the group members are invited.  The account is private or public as you wish.  You may want to use it with GroupTweed or something similar for info push reasons.  The RSS of that project twitter account can then be fed to your Google Intranet Site.

CRM / ERP  -Salesforce is now well integrated with Google apps, though we are not sure if they are a great fit for stratups and projects.  Like other CRM tools, it is not cheap and may also be a bit overloded with features for the early stages.  We haven’t yet found a simple and sexy mini CRM which is well integrated with Google Apps.  Etelos seems also a bit too sophisticated.  We are definitely searching for a soltion

Synctools – We all have our mobile computers and phones and want to combine the group features with our personal tools.  This is a ticky part and we are looking into a couple of solutions.  One of the key features for a solution is to be able to sync part of your personal contacts with your group.

Websites – Many startups or projects would like to publish their progress and results.  WordPress.com and blogspot (ny Google) are good places to start asthey both aloow for quite a bit of customisation for no or little money (wordpress asks for 15$ per year to customise the CSS).  Blogspot / blogger is maybe a bit more techy, but with a bit of exploration and hands-on customisation it is more versatile.  For our current startup we have chosen blogger, beause we can use javascript, we can integrate a DHTML customised navigation bar which can unite different blogspot blogs or even external pages.

Google has 2 more website publishing tools such as Google Sites (great for intranets) and Google Pages (a bit simpler and older).  Both are very simple to setup and use, but also have horrible templates and are not yet as flexible as blogger is.  If you don’t care about looks, or blog capabilities, go for Sites.  Goggle Sites is in the very early stage of it’s life cycle and will cetainly become a central swiss-knife like publishing service for Google.

We will add a few apps and solutions to this list and we will pblish a few howtos wich will be used as guides for our startup team…

This post will also be updated with links later on, so keep posted.

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One Response to “The Virtual Organisation – for Startups, Projects & Co”

  1. I’ve seen twitter on not so few sites recently and I think I’m gonna give it a try. It seems it’s gaining a huge momentum.


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