Top 10 Open Source Productivity Apps

by Matt Hartley

We take a look at OrangeHRM, Task Coach, Inforama, Onepoint Project, Collabtive, GroupOffice and other open source applications to help you boost your business.

Can open source software make us more productive? Some people seem to think so. In this piece, we will examine a list of ten applications from the open universe that allow their users to find a more productive place in their lives.

1. OrangeHRM

Yes, human resource management software might not seem all that exciting on the surface. Despite this perception, the fact remains that this software alone can be of huge benefit to now cash-strapped companies needing to better manage their human resource needs.

Features include: Listing the job titles, page grade, employment status, plus other aspects of job vacancies. If you are looking for extra help, support is available for a fee, and there are also add-ons available.

What this application does for productivity

By providing HR managers with the tools they need to manage employees under their care, the collective workplace becomes a much more productive place. Employees and managers alike will find that proper software at the right price can do wonders.

2. Task Coach
When the tasks feature in your existing PIM (personal information manager) is just not enough, it might be time to look into using Task Coach. Going deeper than the typical task manager, this software provides users with: tasks listed in tree or list view, assign/sort by budget/cost/due date and other variables.

Other critical features include time tracking, availability for ICS/iCal, in addition to providing support for HTML and CSV formats as well.

What this application does for productivity

In my mind, the best features for productivity have to be the time tracking and the sub-tasks feature. The variable sorting filters are nice too, and who can possibly get by without help from the ability to run the application from removal media like a USB pen drive?

3. Onepoint Project
Tracking workflow, ensuring every dollar is going where it needs to with calculation of outgoing costs. This is the king of the show when it comes to managing the work flow of an important product.

Ad Hoc tasks. The one productivity feature that honestly defines this software over the others thus far. Being able to pull out and apply qualified participants from an existing pool as specific tasks call for their assistance, dynamically.

What this application does for productivity

Without question, the fluidity of the work flow, bundled with the power of Ad Hoc tasks. These two features allow users of OnePoint to benefit immediately. The dynamic nature of the software means productivity is noticeable immediately.

4. Collabtive

Access to software that allows its users to collaborate with some Ajax-like goodness can be good thing. "Collabtive" definitely allows for this in a big way with its ability to provide Tasks, a Calendar and Milestones among other items that allow for maximum productivity.

What this application does for productivity

It is simple to use. For me, this is the easiest program that I have used in a long time. It is server hosted, allows me to access my tasks, track time and utilize my calendar fairly easily. You can also produce project reports and track milestones.

5. IT Project Guide - Risk Management
Risks, tasks, and the forum. This is one approach to tackling IT projects that tends to require more than the casual task-based management solution to achieve above-average productivity. Using PHP and SQL, the IT Project Guide - Risk Management app provides its users with a means of keeping track of and -- with help from other assignees -- tackle any risk management issues that need to be worked through.

Providing users with a useful means of handling IT-related risk management means productivity can remain constant and will not take a hit later on due to a lack of follow-up, thanks to the fact that this application provides a means of tracking the steps for each risk being assessed.

What this application does for productivity

Providing those in IT based risk management with a tool for complete follow through. From the specific risk issue in question all the way down the means of resolution, this application provides a method for dealing with and tracking the path to successfully handling IT risk management.

6. Inforama
The idea seems simple enough -- an application that provides the ability to take Open Office templates/forms and create PDF files, grab data from databases for the said templates/forms and add it to your own database. From there, the documents and templates created can be published over the web to a variety of sources.

What this application does for productivity

So how does Inforama enable you to be more productive? Simple, through document automation. Create, access, toss into a database and use it for later. Inforama is providing Open Office users what they need to be truly productive in the enterprise environment. Nothing could be better than being able to use Open Office to its fullest extent.

7. Constant

Basically tackling the various types of changes taking place in your company, Constant provides its users with a means of staying on top of it all. Simply enter in the type of change you are tracking, select users to be seen as participants, and away you go.

Constant is very helpful for the IT desk, as it means tracking every single change that takes place in your workplace, including new software/patches/etc.

What this application does for productivity

Constant is perhaps going to provide the most productive experience for those trying to keep track of the PCs in their workplace. What has been updated, new hardware added, software installed and so on. This application also means the user can request permission to make changes and then compare the results after anything has been updated.

8. GroupOffice
Definitely one of the better alternatives to MS Exchange, even if GroupOffice might be better described as a compliment to Exchange than a replacement. The application provides all you might expect from a PIM-like tool, with the addition of billing and a projects module. And like other Exchange clones, you can also upload and share files with co-workers.

What this application does for productivity

Billing, PIM functionality, synchronization with Outlook/Thunderbird/PocketPC/etc. Perhaps most important to office productivity has to be the CRM (customer relationship management) functionality integrated into the application. Complete with a CRM friendly ticketing system, GroupOffice has enough power to it for your work place to see the productivity benefits almost immediately.

9. OxygenOffice Professional
Think of it as Open Office with all of the bells and whistles. Clip art, extra fonts, templates, and all of the little extras you wished a standard install of Open Office might bother to come with.

What this application does for productivity

Providing its users with the missing fonts, clipart, and templates they need to get the job done means less time compiling documents and more time moving through important projects quickly.

A collection of web based tools for better productivity, TUTOS allows its users to keep track of development teams, their contacts, invoices, their calendar and of course, bug tracking.

What this application does for productivity

For open source development teams, this software is key. It provides a means of tracking, maintaining and even leading a motivated software development team full speed ahead with a good set of tools for progress maintenance.

Adapted from Intranetjournal.com.

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This article was originally published on Wednesday Oct 22nd 2008
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