I’m a big fan of most of what comes out of 37signals. (I’ve posted about many of their offerings over the years.)
One of their tools, Backpack, just got a whole lot more useful for the small business.
Backpack is a tool that allows you to keep track of what you’re doing online, calendars, to-do lists, reminders, files, even pages organized around something you are working on. The problem was that until recently this was a single user tool. Great for keeping your stuff together, but not so easy to share.
Backpack now comes in a multi-user version that really makes this tool more like an on-demand Intranet for small business. You can create as many users as you like and each user can have their own calendars, effectively creating an online shareable calendaring system. The newsroom feature is a like an activity dashboard that also keeps group messaging tidy.
There is a lot of crossover from Basecamp in terms of functionality, writeboards, lists and the such, but while Basecamp is more about project management and shared collaboration from outside, permission based, resources, I think Backpack is really more company focused. I can see small companies organizing it much like a knowledge base to house company documents, processes and manuals.
I really think it’s killer when combined with Basecamp. If you use multiple offerings from 37signals, one tip I would suggest is to get an OpenID and use it to log in to your accounts and then you will have the ability to jump back and forth to all of your accounts from a simple dashboard interface.
Here’s a nice side by side comparison of the 37signals offerings.