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Summary:

Having easy ways to share information with your teammates is absolutely crucial when your office is wherever you happen to set down your laptop. Various tools have emerged that let you share a dashboard of sorts with your teammates. Many of them have the ability to […]

Bantam-1Having easy ways to share information with your teammates is absolutely crucial when your office is wherever you happen to set down your laptop. Various tools have emerged that let you share a dashboard of sorts with your teammates. Many of them have the ability to share files, to provide instant updates on what you’re doing, to assign tasks to team members — but one feature that I’ve been looking for just hasn’t made it into many of the tools I’ve tried. Bantam Live has made good on that missing element: the ability to manage shared contacts.

Bantam-2Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a crucial component of Bantam Live’s dashboard, and for good reason. Whether you’re building a web site or selling a product, you never do it in a vacuum. Instead, there are a wide variety of people that must be contacted at various points. Bantam Live does far more than just keep a central file of phone numbers and email addresses, though: for every given contact, you can track their social media presence on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn. At a glance, you can see what your contacts have been up to and communicate more effectively with them.

Bantam Live takes other cues from social media, too. The first opportunity to interact that you see is a field for status updates. Those updates show up in a real-time activity stream, along with newly created and completed tasks, notes, events and updates to contacts. You can easily interact with each item that appears in the stream, accepting event invitations, commenting on status updates, and so forth.

The learning curve for using Bantam Live is very shallow, making it a practical system to use for short-lived teams. Bringing together a team to put up a major web site but not really planning on working together after it’s complete? Bantam Live can provide a simple way to bring together your team for a few months. You can import an address book’s worth of contacts, add in your tasks and get to work quickly. Even bringing in new team members should take only a matter of minutes, including training them to use Bantam Live: the interface is simple to use and fairly intuitive.

Bantam-3Bantam Live is currently in beta — although its slick interface can lead you to believe otherwise. During the beta period, even large teams can use it for free, and Bantam Live’s creators encourage you to use it with a team: the system is set up to focus on interactions, leading it to be less useful for solo users. However, there are plans to roll out a version for single users, complete with appropriate features, this fall.

Considering how important this sort of information is to everyone working on your project (as well as how interesting your competitors might find it), the fact that Bantam Live uses SSL security on its application at each level is reassuring.

If you’ve tried Bantam Live, tell us what you think of the service in the comments.

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  1. Hey, thanks for the coverage! Totally unexpected. We’re big fans of Web Worker Daily. …From our point of view, Bantam Live is an online workspace for sales/marketing/biz dev teams with “social CRM” features. It’s been likened to “Facebook for business teams” with the ability for users to find, engage, and manage business relationships across the web from within Bantam and on a collaborative basis as a team, as your review points out. What we’d also add is that in Bantam, a user can sequentially 1) search Twitter, 2) import a new contact with one click, 3) initiate task workflows with team members to engage this new contact, and 4) communicate with the new contact for CRM purposes, and 5) maintain all annotations and live feeds of this person from a single contact page in Bantam Live. All of this activity is displayed in the real-time stream of the Bantam Live dashboard, where all team members interact.

    Thanks again for the coverage. We’ll increasingly be adding more CRM features for small business teams.

  2. My-Project-Management-Expert.com Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Hi,

    Looks like a great bit of software which will certainly help communication within project teams, especially when managing those either offshore or based in multiple countries.

    It would also put paid to the whole “No-one told me that” excuse which often appears when work has not be delivered to an updated schedule date.

    One caveat though; whilst the link to social media is great, many companies restrict access to things like Twitter and in many ie investment banks, public sector is it actually banned.

    Regards

    Susan de Sousa
    Site Editor http://www.my-project-management-expert.com

  3. Hi Susan, Bantam Live is targeted to business teams in the SMB space, and not large institutions where more of those restrictions you refer to exist. Moreover, the account owner in setting up a Bantam Live account can deactivate the feature that allows users to link to outside social media.

  4. Michael Thompson Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Having used ManyMoon for a while now, I really like Bantam Live. The UI is clean, but the workflow is a bit muddled at times.

    It’d be great if tasks were grouped by project instead of just in a list and it’d be nice if there were a more streamlined way to add tasks. In fact, tasks being more closely aligned to projects overall would be nice (/tasks for example is just a list, sometimes with an “re: [Some Project]“).

    Task sets that can be applied to projects would be a huge time-saver.

    Project sorting control might be nice (@ /projects), as we tend to have several going at once.

    I really like the app, and would consider moving to it when it gets a bit more polish to it. (Linda and team: great work)

  5. Michael Thompson Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    Another suggestion: a way to filter the dashboard’s activity view by activity type (Deal, Project, Task, etc.)

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  7. I think bantam has found a niche and they are providing some value for team collaboration

  8. Project Management Hut Sunday, August 16, 2009

    I checked the video on the bantam website and it looks quite nice, but I can’t see a valid reason why this application should be the one chosen from the myriad of other online PM tools available in the market.

    Hope Linda (the comment above) is reading this, if you are, would you care to explain?

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  10. i have recently started an ngo. how can you help me in making a project on education.

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