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Extranet-in-a-box
May 25, 2011 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Any recommendations for an "extranet-in-a-box"?

I work at a small web design company and we're looking for an integrated web application with these specs:Overall System
  • Look and feel customization
  • Easy file upload and download
  • Consistent page structure across clients/accounts
  • Scalability
  • System security (what happens if internet is down), redundancy, synching
  • Seamless integration (clients/time tracker, milestones/invoice alert)
External System (extranet)
  • Permissions management system
  • Document sharing & collaboration
Internal Systems (intranet)
  • Permissions management system
  • Archiving & backup
  • Project dashboard/overview with hours worked & remaining in SOW
  • Project kickoff & closing assistance
  • Client profile (contacts, addresses etc.)
  • Time tracking & reporting capability
  • Feed time tracking data into project management dashboard
  • Reporting (such as project profitability, revenue forecasts)
  • Resource management
  • HR forms & vacation calendar
So far we've looked at the 37Signals Suite, Copper Project, ActiveCollab, and OpenAtrium, as well as building something in Drupal or (preferably )ExpressionEngine. Can you recommend one of these approaches or something else? Thanks.
posted by kirkaracha to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've been running an ActiveCollab installation for about a year with 20 or so users. Performance has been good so far, but I can't speak to its overall scalability.

Where it beats out Basecamp for us is in its customizability -- it's well-written, fully modular and it's relatively easy to learn how to write your own modules -- and also the fact that files are stored on your own server.

ActiveCollab also has very affordable licensing. None of that per-user BS and not a subscription-based ongoing cost like with Basecamp.

Our biggest problem with Basecamp is that you need to use their Amazon storage if you want a practical max file size. And some of our clients have corporate web filters that recognize Amazon S3 as 'personal storage' and block access to it. Getting IT security at these organizations to make an exception is next to impossible. This means that Basecamp is effectively useless for those clients.

Where pretty much every economical system falls flat is in time tracking and resource management. Nothing we've found even comes close to satisfying our requirements out of the box. We've spent a great deal of effort in expanding ActiveCollab's time tracking system into exactly what we need.

If you want a low upfront cost and are willing to put the effort into expanding the system ActiveCollab would be my recommendation.
posted by rocketpup at 9:41 AM on May 25, 2011


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