This story originally appeared in our July 14th, 2011 e-magazine. Click here to download the pdf e-magazine.

Affordable, convenient tech solutions are available to social enterprises to make operations more efficient. Below are five web-based apps for any IT budget.

By Nisha Kumar Kulkarni

India-based Aceseller was founded to assist artists, designers and businesses to sell their products online. Features of the web-based store are unlimited products listings, pages and bandwidth, as well as a Facebook store, full customization, inventory tracking and discount codes. There are four pricing plans on offer: starter, basic, pro and premium. The transaction fee varies with each plan. The basic plan, for example, costs INR 1,999 (~$44)/month and has a 8% transaction fee.

With its web-based email, calendar and documents, Google has undeniably made business easier. Google offers three different versions of its application suite: for individuals, education and for business. Google Apps for Business is not free, but is affordable. There are two plans available: the flexible plan for which you pay $5/account/month, and the annual plan for $50/account/year.

Podio is an online platform that allows a person to organize and manage the virtual workspace. It can serve as a place for project and work process work management, as well as for company news, discussion and interaction. Podio also offers a “social intranet,” allowng people to share information and materials with colleagues and outside stakeholders. Up to 10 user accounts are free, but for $99/month, 25 user accounts are included and additional unlimited users can be purchased for $4/user.

Like Aceseller, Shopify is a web-hosted store where a person can sell her goods globally. It allows a person to do everything she does with a physical store location, but online. Shopify allows the business-owner to organize products, customize the storefront, accept credit card payments, and track and respond to orders. There are four pricing plans: basic, professional, business and unlimited. The business plan costs $99/month and includes a 1% transaction fee, 10,000 product listings and 1,000MB on Shopify’s servers.

Zoho is a web-based assortment of applications for business. It has identified and categorized a variety of applications in three categories: collaboration, business and productivity. Zoho applications are free for individuals, but business users may have to pay a fee for applications. For example, Zoho CRM is free for the first three users, but the professional edition costs $12 per user per month or $25/user/month for the enterprise edition. Other applications like Mail Suite, Reports, CRM and Projects are also available for a fee.

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