Teamwork with Basecamp and the iPad

While it is good to have very secure corporate networks it can also throw up barriers to getting work done. Many times, a Sharepoint install will not be accessable from outside of the company network. Thus one team member working-from-home or remote at the airport is left without being able to see the documents being discussed. One option is to have someone else on the call email the documents, but then why have a system that does file management if everyone is just emailing different versions around?

As teams do start expanding around the world, there are other needs becoming just as important as sharing files. Across group discussions can happen around the clock and tracked for later reference if they are entered online as conversation threads.

You could pull a bunch of different systems together to use, or what some in the office have started to use is the online product from 37Signals called ‘Basecamp‘.  The tool is a per user subscription to access model so you only pay for the number of users that actually need to use it. In the world of 99 cent apps, the online solution isn’t cheap, but it is a tiny part of the cost of rolling out an internal solution.

Where most of us first saw Basecamp was when a team member fired up Satchel on their iPad. Satchel is a offline tool for the online Basecamp system. It has a pretty good list of features to keep a Basecamp user moving forward whether they have a Internet connection or not.

✓ Create, edit, and view pages, lists, and notes
✓ View your Calendar and add new events
✓ Manage multiple accounts
✓ Schedule and modify reminders
✓ Keep your Backpack Journal up to date
✓ Notify others of your Status
✓ Work offline, then upload later
✓ Use tags to organize your pages
✓ View files and images stored in your Backpack

The 37Signal team just released their own solution for accessing Basecamp with the iPad. It isn’t an app though, it is a HTML5 answer to having to view the system that was designed for desktop browsers.

By going to your Basecamp account, their system will recognize the your iPad or iPhone (and other smartphones) as a mobile device and adjust for the best user expirience.

Since this isn’t a app like Satchel, Basecamp Mobile will only work online. But, for teams using Basecamp who want to access their info via a mobile iPad, it is a huge improvement over the regular site on a small screen.

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