Simple private mobile communities with Glassboard

gbGlassboard is a neat cross platform (iOS, Android, Web) app that helps people to communicate within teams while on the move.

You download the app – or use the web version – and create a ‘board’ which is where you post messages and files. Then you invite people to join that board, and only they and you have access to what is posted there.

Even better, you can choose to have people join by using an invite code rather than receiving a specific invite. This means that, for example, you could create a board for all the members of an email newsletter to join to be able to chat. Just include the invite code in the email, and all those who you want to have access can do so.

It works really nicely on smartphones – the web interface is a bit clunky, but then, it’s made for mobile I think. It also is a nice, more lightweight alternative to a Yammer network, which can sometimes feel like taking a sledgehammer to a nut, I find, when all you want to do is have a quick chat now and again with a group.

Glassboard is free for 3 boards. For unlimited boards and a few other features, you can go premium for a very reasonable $5 per month.

Add-ons for Google Docs and Sheets

Google has snuck out some rather cool new functionality to its cloud based productivity suite Google Drive.

Called add-ons, you can now use them to add extra functionality to your Google Docs and Spreadsheets experience.

Here’s a video explaining it all:

So what are these add-ons and what do they do?

Lucky for us that Lifehacker has produced a list of the best ones. They include:

  • HelloFax, which lets you fax a Google Doc without leaving the app
  • Mapping sheets lets you take a spreadsheet full of address information and put it all on a Google Map
  • UberConference – lets you set up and run a conference call from within your Google Doc. Great for collaborating across distances
  • Track Changes – gives you reviewing tools a bit more like those you are used to in Word

These are just some of those currently available – it will be interesting to see what will come in time as developers get to work.

Tame your Twitter stream

tame-itNot sure how I had never come across this before, but Tame is super useful!

You set up an account as with all these services, and then connect to your Twitter account. Tame then goes away and comes back with a dashboard style view, in three columns.

The columns display the most popular links being shared by the people you follow, the most popular hashtags being used, and the most popular accounts being mentioned.

It’s a simple idea, but for those moments when you don’t have time for much more than a quick glance at Twitter, it gives you a fast summary of what’s popular in your stream – which might be all you need.

Here’s a video to show how it works:

Capsule – the acceptable and useful face of CRM

capsulecrm‘CRM’ or customer relationship management is one of those IT phrases that can put the fear of God into people, and with good reason.

There aren’t many people who have managed to avoid the organisational carnage that attempts to deploy CRM can cause. Careers have been left in ruins, consultants missing in action, businesses killed along the way.

But it really doesn’t have to be that way! In fact, using a small scale, lightweight CRM have been incredibly helpful in getting all manner of projects done.

My favourite is CapsuleCRM. It enables you to very simply keep contact records and assign various bits of information to them. It also helps you keep a database of the emails you send them, and helps you to organise your workload by attaching tasks to people.

You can also create cases, where tasks, people, notes and files can all be held together in one place. These can be used as a case management system relating to an organisation or person you are working with, or can even be used as a rudimentary but effective internal project management tool.

Finally, there is a free app that you can use on your smartphone so your contacts, notes and tasks are never far away.

Of course this is a CRM so there are some sales pipeline features in there as well. They may not be of use to you. But that’s ok – either don’t use them at all, or think up some other way that those features might be helpful to you.

With pretty much any project where you need to keep a track of people and your interactions with them, having a lightweight database like CapsuleCRM around can be super helpful. CapsuleCRM has a free tier, so you don’t even need to pay for it, or it’s just £8 per month per user if you want to unlock extra storage and so on.

Social tool implementation strategies: Part 1 – cobble free stuff

This is the first part in a series on different strategies for implementing social software within your organisation. They will be published every other Monday morning for the next few weeks. When they are all published, I will collect them all into an ebook which members will be able to download for free.

macbooktypingStrategy 1 – cobble free stuff

There are plenty of services out there that can be used for nothing, right now. For example:

Staff can sign up for these sites and make use of them to record and share knowledge, have conversations with colleagues and get all the advantages of social software without the need for paying for software or development.

As an organisation you could create a strategy which outlines which tools should be used for which task, and how everyone can share and connect on them. Perfect!

Well, kind of. Outsourcing your knowledge and collaboration activity in this way can work brilliantly, but it isn’t without its risks. For example, each service has its own username and password, creating an instant barrier to entry. Further, the services might not talk to each other very well, making it hard to link a conversation on one site with some resource uploaded to another.

What’s potentially worse is that all of these services are dependant on the fact that the companies that run them continue to do so.

Pros:

  • You can get started right away
  • No development requirements or deep IT involvement
  • Often these apps are the best of breed

Cons:

  • Lack of consistency of user interface may put off users
  • Your data will be stored on a multitude of third party servers
  • Limited functionality and support – not to mention adverts – with free versions

Have you tried the ‘cobbling free stuff’ strategy? How did it work for you? Let us know in the comments!

What’s on your tablet, Nick Jones?

NJ-headhsotNick Jones is Head of Digital and CSR at Visa Europe. Responsible for protecting and improving the reputation of Visa Europe across digital channels owned and earned.

Previously he worked in government at Number 10 and the Central Office of Information. You can find Nick on LinkedIn here.

Which tablet do you use most?

iPad mini

What do you use your tablet for most?

  • Email
  • Web browsing
  • Social networking
  • Note taking
  • Photography / video

What are your favourite apps?

What add ons do you use with your tablet?

Logitech Ultrathin keyboard case because the soft keyboard doesn’t allow easy tabbing when taking notes.

What does your tablet not do that you really wish it could?

Outlook integration so the work calendar and email were easily accessible. There is the Good app but not approved for work.

What’s on your tablet? is a regular series of posts about how WorkSmart readers use their tablets. You can take part too – just fill in the survey.